Pupils at a secondary school in Greater Manchester have been banned from hugging, high-fiving, and holding hands after the school implemented a controversial no contact policy.
The Mossley Hollins High School in Tameside has also barred pupils from sitting on overcrowded benches, playfighting and even holding a place for friends in the lunch queue.
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“No student should ever be touching another student” the school headed by Mrs Andrea Din announced in its latest newsletter.
The move that has left parents and pupils outraged. They say policy saying it is effectively turning pupils into ‘robots’
The Mail Online reports: A current pupil slammed the the rules as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘unfair’ after she had to ask a teacher for permission for a friend to hug her after she hurt herself.
She commented publicly on Facebook saying: ‘I’m a current student at this school and I was in a lesson and I hurt my fingers.
‘My friend sat next to me had to ask my teacher for permission to hug me?
‘I just personally think that it’s just unfair, having to ask too hug your friend is ridiculous?!’
Parents have also reacted with anger, accusing the 854 pupil co-educational school of turning its children into ‘robots.’
The school said in their ‘newsflash’ that the rule will ‘further improve our positive school culture’, by making pupils ‘good citizens’ and encouraging them to have ‘mutual respect for each other’.
However, a former student said the rules were ‘not going down very well’ with pupils and left them feeling ‘pressured’, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Emma Halpin, who left the school in 2019, said: ‘I used to go to the school, and I still know people there. Nobody seems to be in favour of it, from what I have seen.
‘It does not seem to be going down very well. A lot of students feel pressured with the rules so far.’
The school has faced a barrage of criticism on social media for the strict rule, with one commenter saying: ‘This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in my life! Wow!
‘Teaching children not to show affection to their friends is a sure fire way to give them problems down the line.
‘If my child went to this school I would be absolutely fuming.’
Katie Teasdale posted on Facebook: ‘Physical contact is such a big part of peer relationships like hugs when upset or celebrating, holding hands with best friends, high five as a greeting and shaking of hands in a formal setting.
‘This may have been put in place as part of a safeguarding measure to stop unwanted physical contact but that should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, not a blanket rule across the school.’
Bill Williams said: ‘So all pupils should be… robots with zero human touch. That is extremely freakish controlling behaviour from a warped-minded school.’
Matthew Nicholls said: ‘Complete failure to understand human needs and behaviour. It’s like these people aren’t really human and they don’t understand social interaction.’
David Mayor said: ‘Under these rules children will grow up with a distinct lack of drive and a lack of interaction and confrontational skills.
‘The school yard is usually better for this sort of thing than going to karate classes. I just wonder what the punishments are for disobeying these rules.’
A Mossley Hollins High School spokesperson said: ‘This trial no contact policy builds on over 25 years of our no contact practice. It is not new but just clearer.
‘It aims to ensure all students can enjoy their own personal space and comes at a time when so many young students have missed out on this great practice at primary school and are learning again to socialise well together.
‘We have used our years of good practice to create this easy-to-follow policy to help our younger students. Behaviour has always been excellent at the school but students and staff say the atmosphere is even calmer, friendlier and kinder than before.
‘We will be monitoring the policy’s impact on healthy play and dialogue at break and lunchtime, outside, and we always listen to good ideas when communicated to us using the proper channels.’
n its announcement, the school said: ‘To further improve out school culture, there is now a no contact rule in place. This means that no student should ever be touching another student.
‘No carrying of other students, cuddling, or play fighting will be tolerated. Students must treat others with respect. All students should show good school citizenship at all times (including breaktime and lunchtime).
‘Respect, helping others and following all school rules are necessary qualities for success.’
It added: ‘This new rule has been introduced to ensure that everyone feels safe in school, has a supportive environment in and outside of lessons, demonstrates mutual respect and are kind to each other, has a positive attitude towards each other and has healthy relationships with their peers.’