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No touching allowed


At 24, I'm old enough to truly understand the value of an excellent education. But I'm also young enough to realize that (many) kids don't go to school only to learn. They go to school to socialize. (Admit it. You don't remember the finer points of Dr. Chase's knockout social studies lesson on Cameroon. You remember the finer points of Kevin from Spanish class.)

So isn't it a disservice to students when we take away key opportunities to learn how to socialize appropriately with their peers? I thought my colleague was joking when she mentioned this article over lunch: "Va. School's No-Contact Rule Is a Touchy Subject."

But no, it's for real.

Appropriate touching is an inevitable part of personal and professional socialization. I high-five, hug and shake hands all the time. People would think I was weird if I didn't. Or at least unfriendly. By banning appropriate touching along with the inappropriate, we are silently teaching our children that all human contact is bad. Far worse than that, by not taking time out to teach acceptable behaviors and problem solving skills in school, we're cultivating a generation of people who will lack these abilities in society.

Also, check out what blogger and psychologist Dr. Helen has to say about this rule.


I couldn't agree more. Dogmatic adherence to the letter of the law is more detrimental than the occasional incorrect interpretation of the 'grey area,' which can be used as learning opportunity. Keep the truth flowing ...

Excellent points. I worked for a district in California that had a no-touching rule instituted at the insistence of their attorneys. However, both my principal and a trainer at a district-sponsored teacher workshop told us that a good teacher has to use touch and that we were not expected to follow the rule to the letter.

I find it quite irritating when school administrators are unable to definitively interpret policy for teachers. Because in the end, teachers who don't follow the "rule to the letter" will be held accountable. I think that many of our nation's schools are bobbling along because of ineffective leadership. It takes a very specific set of skills to be a teacher but that skill set is not the same as those skills required of an administrator. In my opinion, the lack of leadership from principals is a widespread problem. I don't know why this is---maybe it's the training administrators receive---but administrators should not be giving vague answers. Administrators should be backing, supporting, guiding and singing praises of their teachers (if they can't then either teachers or administrators should be removed from that school). All too often I hear stories of teachers asking for guidance and then getting vague responses from their prinicipal, or parents ask for questions or guidance and get rules read back to them. In reference to your post on no-touching rule, might I ask the following question: "how does a kindergarten or first grade teacher teach without touching?" How does a Title teacher soothe a child who has experienced 6 foster homes and given up on reading?" I think a hug or a pat would be appropriate---attorneys aren't teachers and shouldn't be constructing policy for schools but rather should be working with school administrators to create policy that can be followed by teachers without them feeling like they are going to be sued for not following the "rule to the letter." Yes, I agree that there is, most certainly, appropriate touching. Children and teachers must socialize and this socialization includes high-fives, a pat on the back, a hug, a hand pat and shared tears.

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Recent Comments

  • Colleen Schumacher: I find it quite irritating when school administrators are unable read more
  • Rebecca Forste: Excellent points. I worked for a district in California that read more
  • Pete Goff: I couldn't agree more. Dogmatic adherence to the letter of read more




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