Principal Tyler Blackmore has decided to resign from his job at the Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School in New Jersey after he banned hugging. Citing “incidents of unsuitable, physical interactions,” he announced “no hugging school” in March. Blackmore’s decision angered many parents because they saw the rule as punishment.
However at the time, School Superintendent David Healy said, the district has the responsibility to teach children about appropriate interactions, but no one would be disciplined for hugging. Then it was learned that Blackmore filed his resignation on April 5th, after only working at the school since July of 2010.
School Board President Charles Kenny tells the Asbury Park Press that the hug ban decision has nothing to do with why Blackmore is resigning. He says that the resignation is for a “personnel matter and the reasons were confidential.”
In 2007, at a Fairfax Virginia middle school, not only was hugging banned, anyone who even high fived another person or was caught holding a friend’s hand, would be sent to the principal’s office for disciplinary action. The first offense resulted in a warning after that a student would receive detention.
At the time, Kilmer Principal Deborah Hernandez said that the physical contact ban was to deter more serious situations it could lead to. “You get into shades of gray,” she said. “The kids say, ‘If he can high-five, then I can do this.’ ”
Hernandez went on to say, the no-touching rule is meant to ensure that all students are comfortable and crowded hallways and lunchrooms stay safe. School officials are allowed to use their judgment in enforcing the rule she concluded.