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“A hug can lead to other things.” Like, apparently, detention.

By Isabel Kallman

Wonderland, Wonderland, we’re on our way…
Oops, sorry. Been watching too much WonderPets lately.
Hi fair Wonderland readers, It’s Liz from Mom101, honored to be here once again in an effort to fill Alice’s formidable shoes. I’ve been gingerly caressing the faux leather uppers all morning, sighing, even humming a little to myself, just so happy to sporting the proverbial footwear of Alice Bradley. And let me tell you (because I know you’re wondering) her feet smell like roses.
So what’s in the news this week that parents might care about? Um…maybe ANOTHER FREAKING TOY RECALL?
But that’s not what I want to discuss, because we all know that small plastic bits made in China cannot be good for children to eat, even if we didn’t know that they were made with the same chemical as the date rape drug.
So moving on to a far greater danger affecting the health and general well-being of our nation’s youngsters:
(brace yourself)
(are you ready?)
(wait for it…)
Yes, hugging is bad. Hugging is harmful. Hugging completes the newly updated axis of evil along with its nefarious companions, hand-holding, back scratches, and furtive glances from across the room.
At least this seems to be the case in an Illinois middle school, where student Meagan Coulter received two days of detention for hugging a friend after class. The Mascoutah Middle School administration upheld the penalty, referring to a policy handbook which states that any display of affection “is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved.”
Oh wait – No. That was a paragraph about lap dances.
No, hold on…scratch that. I was right the first time. That was a hug they were describing.
I certainly remember how crazy those hormonal middle school years can be: Awkward flirting. Lap sitting. Very short boys testing sexual boundaries while slow dancing to REO Speedwagon. I still have vivid memories of Stevie T, my seventh grade crush, asking me to go to second base with him after school by the bicycle racks. My answer was a definitive “No. Unless we’re going steady.”
His response: “How about if we go steady for the night?”
Charming as he was, I didn’t fall for his wily ways. I waited a whole additional year to let him grope at the nothingness that failed to fill my A-cup.
So look, I get the PDA issues that the school must have. No one wants a bunch of horny, pimply adolescents playing spin-the-bottle in the hallways or heavy petting in the last row of social studies. But a hug “bringing discredit to the school?” Really? Really? I know that you can’t entirely judge a book by its cover, but from what I’ve seen of Meagan Coulter, she hardly strikes me as the class slutbag.
I think that more discredit to the school came as a result of the superintendent who could have easily told the media, “Okay, so maybe we overreacted a bit with a rule really intended to put the kibosh on inappropriate flirting and football players smacking each other on the butts during practice.”
I wonder what the handbook says about pedantry.
And a note to Mascoutah school board members: If and when you do revise your handbook, you’re having subject agreement issues. It should read “Public displays of affection…are in poor taste.”
But feel free to ignore me. I’m a hugger, not a fighter.

Published November 9, 2007. Last updated August 21, 2013.
Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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  • alice


    November 9, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Oh, Liz. I want to hug you, and then get detention for it.

  • Lara

    November 10, 2007 at 5:25 am

    i agree with alice. i’d gladly detent myself for a hug with you.
    (did you like that? how i made detention into a verb? i’m awesome like that.)

  • slouching mom

    November 10, 2007 at 9:17 am

    I’m shaking my head here. That is just…ridiculous.

  • NotAMeanGirl

    November 10, 2007 at 10:56 am

    That’s just redonkulous!!!! Middle Schoolers SHOULD hug. Its scientific fact that everyone needs a certain amount of human contact… physical contact. Hugging is an innocent way of fulfilling that need. Stoopid bastages… God… can ya TELL this is a hot button issue for me? heh.

  • Maggie

    November 10, 2007 at 10:58 am

    A middle school kid was expelled from my daughter’s tiny rural school this week for a specific threat of gun violence.
    Which somebody had hugged him more often.

  • Kyla

    November 10, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    I went to private Christian school and we had the SIX INCH RULE, which we hated and broke all the time. But it was private school and they always go a little heavy on the rules. Even then I never got detention for it…and I broke that quite a bit. LOL.
    This is all kinds of ridiculous. ZERO TOLERANCE HUGGING. Seriously? That’s what they choose to take a stand on?

  • Just Seeking

    November 10, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    This is scary ridiculous. What will they legislate next? I remember an article in our local newspaper a couple of years ago where a kindergarten student had bitten a classmate and the POLICE were brought in to investigate. So sad the state of affairs of our society. Ugh.

  • Fairly Odd Mother

    November 10, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Oh Liz, ((((hugs))) for this post (even though you hate it).
    In the next town, a SIX YEAR OLD was suspended for ‘sexual harassment’–what did this boy do? The evil was “to place his hand inside the waistband of a girl’s pants, touching the skin on her back.”
    You know, you can get a girl pregnant for touching the skin on her back.
    How do you tell a 6 year old they are a sexual predator? Wouldn’t it be more prudent to just tell the kid to keep his hands to himself? Do we really think a 6 year old is trying to make the moves on a classmate?
    I’ve certainly heard of the ‘no hugging’ rule. I think that it is actually a ‘no touching’ rule here–that includes hand-holding between elementary school girls.
    And, yet, NO ONE notices a grown teacher making the moves on a 13 year old. Could we please shift our focus to those scumbags?

  • mothergoosemouse

    November 10, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    Great. Now I can worry about all the ways my kids can inadvertently get in trouble, in addition to all of the usual “what were you thinking?” mistakes that they know will land them in hot water.

  • PunditMom

    November 10, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    God forbid we encourage compassion or empathy in kids. Geez. Don’t even get me started on this one.
    OOPS — didn’t mean to cyber-hug!

  • Overwhelmed With Joy!

    November 11, 2007 at 12:49 am

    You have got to be kidding me! The Mascoutah Middle School administration needs to pull their heads out of their arses!
    Sounds like they all need a hug.

  • jaelithe

    November 11, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Being this happened practically in my backyard, you can bet I am up in arms about it. Hugging arms, that is.
    Seriously, stuff like this makes me want to homeschool my kid just so he doesn’t turn out like some sort of robot. It’s human nature to want to touch other people. I feel like this must be somehow psychologically stunting to kids.
    And has anyone else tried to imagine a high school sports team, or theater group, without hugs?

  • MommyWithAttitude

    November 11, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    I suppose it’s too much to ask that some common sense be applied to school rules.

  • Shannon

    November 11, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Cheeeese. What’s next, banning friendship? A school-imposed, three-foot zone of personal space?
    And we wonder why our schools produce students with poor social skills.

  • mod*mom

    November 12, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    what about nursery school? my daughter + her friends greet each other with big sqeezie hugs. the teachers + kids hug each other too. it must have been a wild hug to get detention.

  • bitsy parker

    November 12, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    I wouldn’t click to another site for just anyone, but for you I got over here…and enjoyed myself.

  • psumommy

    November 12, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    Wanna hear something worse? PRESCHOOL HUGGING. Yes, you read that right. Those darn preschoolers with their lack of control and modesty!
    (My daughter, age 4 at the time, got a note sent home about hugging her friends at school. Grrrrrrr…)

  • Melissa

    November 13, 2007 at 10:58 am

    My daughter got a lunch detention last week for hugging her friend after her friend had a bad day. Unfreakin believable! Her school will also give detentions for high fives. The priorities of these schools are ridiculous!

  • Matt

    November 13, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Idiots. The only available word for that administration.

  • dregina

    November 13, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Here’s my question – can a parent overrule a detention they disagree with? Because if that was my kid, I’d be calling the principal’s office to let them know my child would not be reporting for those detentions. How much trouble would that cause? A little? A lot? I have no idea.

  • Emily

    November 13, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    I’d leave a comment, but I’m too busy telling my children they cannot hug me because it is in poor taste.

  • Isabel Kallman

    Isabel Kallman

    November 13, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    in virtual solidarity, i am signing all my correspondence this week with “hugs.”

  • motherofbun

    November 14, 2007 at 2:36 am

    I about fell off my chair when I saw this school was in Mascoutah, Illinois. I grew up not 20 minutes from there. The town is teeny-tiny. (Smaller than even my itty bitty town.)
    People where I grew up pride themselves on having lots of common sense (as well as a high tolerace for alcohol). And most of them do (have both). But apparently all of the german catholic beer drinking bonanzas are starting to affect certain people’s judgements. Or… Maybe… some people aren’t drinking enough?

  • LawyerMama

    November 14, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    I know you don’t like it, but I have no choice but to hug you now. And bring discredit to AM’s blog. (Could they have worded that any more poorly?)

  • Slim

    November 19, 2007 at 9:23 am

    Did everyone see the photo of this scofflaw and her family? They were . . . hugging. Clearly, she has learned nothing. Maybe she needs reform school. Reform school would ban hugging, wouldn’t it? Or is it only the idiots as her school?

  • Thomas

    January 16, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    I heard today that they are making it illegal for kids of different genders to talk, because it might lead to sexual contact! Just Kidding! But seriously, WHAT THE HECK!! NO hugging in school?? When I was in school I used to hug girls all the time!! They were my friends and sometimes were upset so I would give them a friendly hug!!

  • :O

    February 2, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    crazy people these days.