- Parent Category: Lower-Intermediate News Lessons
- Category: Education Lessons
- Written by Chris Cotter
In a junior high school in America, a very strict rule states that hugs aren't allowed. Each hug equals one after-school detention. In fact, if the children display any kind of public affection at school, they will get punished.
It sounds like a joke. Unfortunately, Megan Coulter found out that the school is very serious about the rule, because she got in trouble when she hugged two friends. She explained that the hugs weren't real hugs. She threw an arm over her friends' shoulders, offered a quick squeeze, and said goodbye for the weekend. It's ridiculous to think that teachers would waste time on such a policy.
But the school superintendent supports the school's decision, as teachers followed the guidelines in the school handbook. The handbook states, "Displays of public affection should not occur on the school campus at any time." Other supporters believe the rule lets students focus on learning.
Coulter's parents think the decision is unnecessary and silly. Affection and physical contact are a basic human need, and people of all ages often hug or hold hands. The rule also shows that educators are more likely to follow rules instead of use common sense.
Megan will stay after school as punishment. Her parents hope to change the rule at the next school board meeting.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Brainstorm: Brainstorm with a partner(s) words and ideas associated with "public display of affection" for 2 minutes. Spend another 5 minutes or less discussing the words and ideas together.
Discuss: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- Holding hands in public with a boyfriend/girlfriend is never okay.
- Junior high school students shouldn't be allowed to date.
- I'm embarrassed if my parents/significant other gives me a hug or kiss in public.
- It's important to follow what society thinks is acceptable and unacceptable.
- Rules are important, and we should always follow them.
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- What do you think about the rule? Why?
- What do you think about the school's decision to blindly follow the policy? Why?
- What would you have done if you saw Megan hug her friends?
- What would you do if you were Megan's parents? Please explain.
- What do you think will happen at this school in the future? Will anything change?
Google Search: Type "public display of affection" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.