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Superintendent: We Won't Suspend Students for Hugging

In clarification, he says Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School principal was addressing unsuitable physical interactions between students

When Principal Tyler Blackmore made an announcement over the loud speaker that the school was now a "no hugging school", he likely never guessed it would garner such widespread media attention.

The story was first reported by New Jersey 101.5, and was then on Matawan-Aberdeen Patch asking if readers felt hugging in middle school was appropriate.

The story of a "hug ban" in a New Jersey school quickly spread to multiple news organizations, including CBS Local, Fox NY, NJ.com, in addition to several blogs.

"It is unfortunate that there are those who find purpose and humor in sensationalizing such a routine school related issue at the expense and inconvenience of our children and our school community," said Superintendent David Healy in a press release issued Thursday evening.

Healy clarified that there is no set policy against hugging, and said no student would be suspended for hugging. Healy said that Blackmore made the announcement in an, "effort to address some incidents of unsuitable, physical interactions between students."

"I have confidence in Mr. Blackmore and his administrative team and believe that he acted in a responsible manner," Healy said.

Read Healy's full statement here:

Mr. Blackmore is responsible for the safety and well being of over 900 children ranging from eleven to fourteen years in age and to that end he makes several announcements on a daily basis. In an effort to address some incidents of unsuitable, physical interactions between students, Mr. Blackmore made an announcement to his students that they were in a "no hugging school."

We have a responsibility to teach children about appropriate interactions and about having a structured, academically focused environment. There is no policy specific to hugging and we have not nor will we be suspending students for hugging. However the Board has policies in place to address bullying, inappropriate relationships and inappropriate conduct. I have confidence in Mr. Blackmore and his administrative team and believe that he acted in a responsible manner.

Despite this distraction I along with my administration, faculty and staff will continue to be committed to focusing on our primary mission of educating children while providing them with a safe, secure and nurturing learning environment.

It is unfortunate that there are those who find purpose and humor in sensationalizing such a routine school related issue at the expense and inconvenience of our children and our school community.

colleen March 25, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I would like to know if anyone that has posted has any children in the school system??? Why this may seem very trivial. "hugging". These children are actually doing a lot more than just hugging!!!! Now I'm not saying everyone's child is bad not at all but must children have no respect for authority at all ! These children need to have respect for themselves as well as adults. I totally understand. That kids hug each other as a sign of affection or a hello. That's great. But there is a line that has been crossed in the middle school that very seriously needed to be addressed , and in today's society when everything has to be POLITICALLY CORRECT. We can't say the boys are going to the bathroom because there is a girl waiting to service them!! We now have to say no"HUGGING" & now because of this A principle will lose his job. REALLY!! I do not know this principle but he is an adult who has the responsibility to see that our children get the best education that he can provide through our teachers. If that's the one way he can provide this by having no HUGGING. I say great. &i agree it does take a village to raise a child, so as parents,teachers, the boe ADULTS. should come together to support the principle &his decision, we should try to educate these kids
Agent Moose and Squirrel March 26, 2012 at 02:26 AM
if things are as you say they are then maybe the boys and girls should be going to seperate schools. it's more that the parents are not doing their job in teaching and raising their children. it's not the schools to do that part. the school is to educate them. what school where you go into the boys room you get serviced? come on!!! you're watching too many movies and letting your mind run wild.
colleen March 26, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Let me tell u. Your right about it's the schools job to teach our kids & the parents job to educate them as well. I'm not in disagreement with you. As far as separate schools. I don't know. I went to that school really the only thing we had to worrie about then was who was gonna get beat up... Movies. I don't think so. This is happening now !!!!!!!That's the problem with some ppl. THEY ARE IN DENIAL. So wake up
Marcos April 17, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I go to mams, and NO ONE WAS PUNISHED!!!!!! If you were, some misguided teacher misinterpreted the policy
Marcos April 17, 2012 at 11:37 PM
We need more people like you in our world, noticing the wrongs of my peers :)

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