Putting Education Reform To The Test

Feedback Loop: A Hug by Any Other Name

When is a hug innocent or inappropriate? Administrators at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay adopted a zero tolerance, no-hugging policy so school officials would not have to differentiate. But, that policy resulted in the in-school suspension of two Florida middle school students for hugging even though the principal said it appeared innocent.

Zero tolerance is typically applied to school policies like “no firearms”, but supporters said zero tolerance takes the guesswork and favoritism out of the “no-hug policy.”

It prompted Mr.Doon to pose the question:

How many people do they have to suspend before the community recognizes that this is completely ridiculous? If I was a student in that school, I’d organize a mass hug-in just to speed up the process.

An interesting proposal, yet Ufdionysus does not believe that a call for “civil disobedience” has any chance of success:

Unfortunately, very few students I’ve encountered in primary education are willing to commit civil disobedience.  I tried such things and couldn’t get any solidarity.  I found a lot of students scared to even put their names on a petition they agreed with.  The school system is very good at making you scared to challenge authority.

The “no-hugging policy” has made its rounds. A mother from New Mexico, Mary Ann Chastain  shares why she worked to repeal the policy at her daughter’s school.

In 1995 my daughter’s school in Albuquerque (Eisenhower Middle School) instituted a no-hugs policy.  The day that this was announced to the students, I was in the hospital recovering from a mastectomy.  My daughter and my Girl Scout troop were very upset about this ridiculous rule.  We spent the next few months fighting it (as if chemo and radiation weren’t enough) and forced them to change it.

The wide range of comments this week also included Roy Lawson’s  thank you to Florida Senator J.D. Alexander for bringing “a world-class university” to Polk County, but he opposes Alexander’s bid to make USF Poly an independent university.

There are advantages to being in a big family that those supporting a split have either ignored or forgotten.  First, USF has national and global recognition.  That brand can attract world-class faculty and students.  USF Poly gets to be part of that.  Brand X Poly does not.

There is a cost to starting from ground zero.  I think we should be grateful for what we have, and work harder to sort out any differences with the USF family.  It would be far easier to settle our differences than to build a university from the ground up.

Wednesday, the Florida Board of Governors gave preliminary approval for USF Poly to become the state’s 12th university if it meets certain milestones.


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