[…] I needed a hug.
This is two years ago, outside the village of Tykocin, Poland. I was on assignment, traveling with a Holocaust memorial group, most of whom were Jewish. After days spent touring murder camps, viewing the artifacts of the dead, grappling with the incomprehensible, our group found itself in a forest clearing. There, in 1941, we were told, 1,400 Jews — all the Jews of Tykocin — were made to dig three mass graves. And then they were shot.
I swear you could feel their presence, see them ambling the path down which we had come, hear mothers soothing anxious children with soft lies. “Hush now. Everything will be all right.”
For me it was, finally, too much. I’m not a guy who cries easily, and I didn’t then. But man, I needed a hug. Needed a human touch. I sought out one of my bus mates and opened my arms.
It is a long way, physically and emotionally, from Tykocin to a middle school in Middle America, but the moral of the story remains the same. Sometimes — times of pain, times of commiseration, times of affection, times of joy — you just need to be held. So I was appalled to read this week about a school in Texas — Fossil Hill Middle in Fort Worth — where students are banned from hugging or even holding hands. And it turns out Fossil Hill is not the only one.
From Bend, Ore., to Oak Park, Ill., to Des Moines, Iowa, to Orlando, Fla., to, believe it or not, Cornwall, England, schools are banning hugs. Some say it’s because hugging creates congestion in the halls. But there are others who say these ”PDAs” — public displays of affection — are a gateway to sexual harassment.
My, my, my. […]
I am appalled. What has this nation come to, that a simple hug is to be prohibited in middle school?