The Problem with ‘No Hug’ Policies in School

I launched a campaign to end the no-touch rules in schools in 2007 and I see that this crazy notion is still in the heads of fear driven adults. Even after protests, petitions and numerous books reveal the research that supports the immediate removal of such rules, the problem still persists. Read this blog and help adults you interact with who don’t understand the repercussions of imposing insane barriers like this among children is detrimental to their development and social functioning.


A middle school in Canada was in the news recently for their “no loving, no shoving” policy, which is intended to prevent violence and sexual contact. Schools in Arizona, New Jersey and elsewhere have attempted to implement similar no-touch initiatives. It seems the old adage “keep your hands to yourself” — once reserved for school assemblies and cafeterias — has slowly crept its way into hallways, classrooms, playgrounds … and policies.

(MORE: Ruth Davis Konigsberg: Should Some Planes Be Kid-Free?)

We have had roughly 30 years of “good touch/bad touch” programs in schools and communities, but almost all of the attention has been on bad touch. When we ban touch altogether, there are no opportunities for healthy contact. That is a huge loss. The health benefits of touch are well-known, from stress relief to lowered blood pressure. But in school, the main benefit of touch is to…

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