An eighth-grade student’s double detention for hugging friends at school has sparked a national debate. Rules concerning public displays of affection in school have surged over the last two decades, reports Time magazine, but there is little consensus about how far they should go in governing student behavior. Some schools forbid any contact at all, while others trust administrators' discretion.
“Preventing harassment and teaching kids to respect each other is important,” said an ACLU official, but “it's draconian to ban all forms of touch.” Schools cite crowded hallways and a Supreme Court ruling charging them with protecting students from harassment. "I honestly think I shouldn't have been punished, because the hugs were nothing inappropriate," said the punished 13-year-old.