A charter school in America's insufferable kid and parent-related news mecca of Brooklyn has outlawed hugging in the halls between classes because school officials find the practice "distracting" for the children. Smiling, eye contact, quotes from Will Ferrell movies, and dumb made up handshakes are still allowed. But for now at least, in one school, the policy is "neither hugs nor drugs."
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School sounds kind of like a place that could use an Whoopi Goldberg or Julie Andrews or Robin Williams to play a Manic Pixie Dream Teacher who really shakes up the place and teaches everyone a little bit about having fun and/or dancing; according to the New York Daily News, Prospect's a place that prides itself on order and discipline. Kids there wear uniforms, aren't allowed to snack or use the bathroom between classes, and probably aren't allowed to sing, breakdance, or have poetry slams either. I bet the walls could really be punched up by some colorful neon pink and green graffiti murals designed by the quiet kids who secretly doodle and dream of art school. Maybe a jazz band.
Anyway, school officials point out that they haven't banned hugging outright; kids are free to hug during lunch, in something reminiscent of the hugging equivalent of what "free speech zones" are to protesting in China. And students are certainly free to hug each other's brains out when they're not in transit between classes.
School officials say that the ban came about out of necessity, that kids were getting too clingy and squirrely during learning time. They're not the first school to ban or limit hugging, either; schools in New Jersey and Oregon have asked students to leave room for the Holy Spirit in the hallways, and Prospect Charter hasn't had any parent complaints yet.