Tell them they can’t touch other. No high five. No bumping fists. No noogies. And definitely no holding hands – nope, not even locking pinky fingers.
Administrators at a middle school in Connecticut have put out a strict no touching policy in an attempt to cut down on “horseplay” among the students.
In theory, I get it. Kids in middle school are rough on each other – and the kid who was kicked in the groin at the school a few weeks ago was in some serious hurting (I’m a girl, and even I think about the kick in the ‘nads and cringe).
But middle school kids don’t live in a theoretical world. They’re at an age when they literally crave touch. They are starting to get an itch for sexual exploration – even though they’re not ready for sex (no matter what they think). So they tickle. They hold hands. They hug. And since they’re still little kids, they also tussle, slap five, roughhouse.
Some of them take it too far, obviously, which is where discipline comes into play. Lay down common sense rules, and kids respond. If they don’t, they face the consequences. Like punishment for kicking a kid in the groin.
If they weren’t respectful enough of the rules NOT to get violent, is a no touching rule really going to stop them? Or is it just going to make a roiling mess of pre-teen hormones go beserk?
Part of the socialization of school is learning to respect one another’s personal space. When a pre-teen boy gets too close to a pre-teen girl, she should be developing the wherewithal to tell him to back off. Boys too should be learning where the lines are drawn. Because in the real world, there is no “no touching” rule. We walk past our co-workers, and thanks to years of growing up around other kids, now when we can put our hands on their shoulders to scootch past to get a the coffee machine, now NOT to put our hands on their butt when we do it.
You know where the no touching rule is going to put most of these kids? In detention.