Hands to yourselves
July 6, 2009
by Jen Bakken

While driving to work the other day I was listening to the St. Cloud radio station 104.7.

Normally, I prefer to hear music and change the channel when there is too much talking going on, but not this day.

They were talking about schools adopting “No Touch Policies” and asking parents to call in with their thoughts on the subject.

My first thought was that they must be talking about sexual harassment in the schools, but, no – they were talking about hand holding, high fives, and hugs.

What? Are you kidding me?

Does that mean if a child is sad at school, a teacher, or a friend, cannot give them a hug or a pat on the back?

When students play floor hockey in gym and their team does well, does this mean they can’t high five each other?

That is exactly what it means, and while I listened to the program, caller after caller felt just as I did. They all thought this was a ridiculous policy that is just going too far.

Aren’t the anti-bullying and sexual harassment policies along with all the other rules enough?

I have volunteered at Delano Elementary School for years, and I witness touching all the time, but nowadays just the word “touching” makes one think of something inappropriate.

Yes, children should know about good touch vs. bad touch, but they should be allowed the good touches.

I’ve seen a little boy fall down in the hallway, helped up by a teacher then hugged by that same teacher and a fellow student. As a parent, this is how I hope my child would be treated.

After a school vacation, little girls sometimes are so excited to see each other that they giggle and hug. There is nothing wrong with this, in my opinion.

In fact, when I’ve been at school volunteering, I’ve hugged a student a time or two. If I was told not to help at school unless I was a cold statue, I wouldn’t volunteer at all.

High fives, given by teachers to students, are a common occurrence in the halls of Delano Elementary, and I say – awesome!

Understandably there has to be rules and regulations but at some point we are going to end up with little lifeless robots walking the halls of schools.

We may even end up with fewer and fewer teachers because they are just too scared of doing something wrong.

Should there be kissing or inappropriate touching in schools? Of course not, but we can’t just stop all physical contact.

Should there be a no touch policy in schools? No, plain and simple.

Should students know when to keep their hands to themselves? Absolutely, we need to teach children social interaction skills and not simply say– hands to yourselves.