Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bubble-Wrapped Kids

Okay I did the whole thing on hugs and political correctness and declining social contact yesterday. I was planning to move on today. I really was. But then I got my coffee, opened my browser, started to check the morning news...and got hit with this:

Megan Coulter (ironically I mentioned Ann Coulter yesterday in one of my comments - to my knowledge they are not related) put her arm around the shoulders of two girlfriends to say goodbye for the weekend and she got slapped with two days of detention, one for each girl hugged.

Here is the actual wording of the policy from their student handbook:

“Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved.”

Displays of affection are in poor taste...and brings the person involved. Yep. That's the road we're heading down.

School District Superintendent Sam McGowen thinks the policy and the penalty is fair. What's the matter Sam, mom didn't hug you when you were a kid? Haven't worked that out in your therapy yet? Okay, group hug for Sam everybody.

Look, don't get me wrong. I'm a father. I'm not advocating that middle school students should be allowed to grope and make out in the hallways (or anywhere else for that matter), but putting your arm around a friend's shoulder? This blind, mindless, unquestioning adherence to these zero-tolerance policies has got to stop. What message are we sending the kids? We're certainly not doing them any favors by isolating and enfeebling them. We're going to end up with a crop of socially awkward, emotionally stunted adults unable to cope with real-life situations and interactions. They won't be able to converse with someone but boy howdy, will they ever be able to pass standardized tests for math & science. And unthinking, uncaring blind adherence and zero-tolerance is not just in our schools. Can anyone say "Homeland Security"? I've always known that common sense isn't common but when did this country stop thinking altogether? When did it stop feeling? 9/11 was a terrible life-altering event that frightened us and put us into shock. Instead of recovering from that shock we've allowed ourselves to slip into a coma. The time to wake up is long overdue. It's time to start practicing some zero-tolerance on the ridiculous, asinine, insane, arrogant, illegal, unconstitutional, and reprehensible acts that are taking place here everyday.

In "The Time Machine" H.G.Wells wrote about a future where mankind evolved into two classes. One the pastoral, innocent, docile Eloi who frolicked and played and didn't have to think for themselves. The other class was the aggressive, violent but intelligent Morlocks who bred the Eloi as livestock...AND ATE THEM. I've never felt comfortable being part of a flock.


Hungry Mother said...

I spent 10 years on a school board in PA. Our superintendent strove to maintain a high degree of discretion so he wouldn't get backed into a corner on some stupid rule like this. There are two compelling reasons not to try to spell out rules for all situations:

1. Kurt Goedel's work in the 30s about the incompleteness of mathematics can be interpreted to say that it is impossible to have a complete and consistent set of rules to cover all situations.

2. One of the joys of being human is to use our rationality to think through complex situations, so why try to short circuit reason?

Colonel Colonel said...

Where was that school? The Superintendent sounds like something out of a Dickens novel.

Anonymous said...

I can just imagine that child in the detention hall reflecting over her crimes and why it is she is there. She must be thinking, "How stupid am I. I should have known I would get caught. My parents must be so furious with me."
After all, when I got detention for skipping homework assignments, class, or smoking in the bathroom, thats how I felt.She makes my offenses look like child's play.... Hugging? what is this world come to? What is wrong with the children of today? It must be the influence of bad music, bad tv, and bad role models.
If I catch my kids hugging anyone I am going to fight the urge to ship them off to military school, and certainly send them off to bed without their dinner!

Bruce, a work in progress said...

HM, sounds like we need you back on the school board. I'm not familiar with Goedel's work but I'll look him up. And you got a big Amen on your second point. And that really is a sad product of the direction we're heading in - the removal of joy from being human.

Col, it's in Mascoutah, IL. Land of Lincoln not hugs.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

GCM, whoa! You are seriously hard core :-)
I do believe I detect heavy sarcasm. Yeah, what we're teaching the kids scares me. I do have hope though that the kids are sensible enough to think, "man, these adults are f**ked-up".

Welcome, thanks for stopping by.

Mike said...

Hugging is only inappropriate if there is gratuitous humping involved. Trust me, I know this for a fact.

Chances are I am not going to be alive to see a lot of these kids when they grow up to be adults and honestly, I don't feel all that bad about missing out on their future messed up adult-hood.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with humping?

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Humping? Who said anything about humping? Are you ODing on your migrane meds, that HUGGING. And it's probably not a good idea for middle school.