Hug in School Gets Kid Suspended

Two girls hugging at schoolBy all accounts, it was just an innocent hug between two friends.

But when 14-year-old Nick Martinez got caught hugging a girl at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay, Florida, a couple of weeks ago, he got suspended.

“I didn’t know hugging was a bad thing,” Nick told Orlando, Florida, TV station WKMG.  “I didn’t know you could get suspended for it.”

You can in Brevard County, Florida.

That’s where Southwest Middle School is located.

And according to school officials, all schools in the county have a policy that bars public displays of affection – hugs included.

Even if they’re innocent hugs.

So when Nick and the girl got caught hugging, they both reportedly received a one-day, in-school suspension.

“I’m livid,” said Nick’s mother, Nancy Crescente, in an interview with WKMG reporter Shaun Chaiyabhat.  “There’s nothing wrong with hugging.”

But a lot of school officials don’t see it that way – at least not when it comes to kids hugging in school.

Some schools have banned hugging because principals and teachers thought there was too much of it going on – some of it unwanted.

Some even say kids were using hugs as a form of bullying or humiliation.

“We cannot discriminate or make an opinion on what is an appropriate hug, what is not an inappropriate hug,” said Brevard County Schools spokesperson Christine Davis in an interview with Orlando TV station WOFL.  “What you may think is appropriate, another person may view as inappropriate.”

Despite all that, Crescente told WKMG she plans to go to the county school board, to try to get the no-hugging policy changed.

“If there’s nothing wrong with (hugging) in the legal system, why would there be something wrong in the school system?” she said.

Nick says a lot of his other friends also hug in school.

“I just happened to be the one (who) got caught doing it,” he told Chaiyabhat.

Now, his mother is reportedly fighting to get the suspension removed from his permanent record.

“There was nothing inappropriate,” she told WOFL reporter Valerie Boey.  “It was a mutual hug.  And I just don’t understand how something so innocent could be turned into this chaos.”

What do you think?