Students At N.J. Middle School Say Principal Announced Ban On Hugging

MATAWAN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) —There is a lot of confusion at Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School, where students say the principal made an unusual announcement last week.

“First, I heard over the loudspeaker ‘We are a no hugging school’ and we are…’This is our new policy,'” student John Carelli told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu on Thursday.

Some of the students went home with stories about a hugging ban that if they hugged in school, they could be suspended.
Some parents, including Tammy Sabatini, who has had three kids attend the school, found the idea crazy.

“They’ve hugged forever since they were babies and now they’re being told they can’t do it,” Sabatini said.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“It’s stupid, I’ve never heard of such a thing. Why can’t you hug?” another parent told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “That’s how we grew up, with affection. You hug, you kiss.”

“It’s kind of silly,” one man said. “When I was in middle school I hugged my friends — boys and girls. I don’t know what the big deal is.”

On Wednesday night, many parents received the following recorded message from the principal, trying to clarify things:

“Hugging can be inappropriate and we want to make sure that there’s no inappropriate physical contact.  We certainly do not have a policy against hugging nor do we intend to or have we suspended students for hugging,” the message said.

The message went on to say the school wants the students to stay focused on academics. CBS 2’s Hsu tried to talk to the principal about the issue, but he had no comment. The school superintendent also had no comment.

“I just think it’s an outrage. It’s hugging. It’s not like it’s going to kill anyone,” said student Miranda Allen.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams On The Story

“If they can’t do it in school, they have plenty of time to hug their friends outside of school — when they’re home under the supervision of their parents, and when they’re in school, they can learn,” parent Deirdre Ring said.

So while there’s still a lot of confusion over the whole issue, students say they will keep on hugging off school grounds.

What do you think of the idea of a hugging ban? Let us know below…

  • Keonos

    Maybe the school should reconsider the nickname they use for themselves: MAMS.

  • JWS

    Will stupidity never end? Even if they hug they don’t do it during class and therefore it has nothing to do with interfering with their education. I suggest that the school better makes sure that they learn something while in class instead of all this other nonsense.

  • Sara Cofresi

    Wow! I hope they enforce that with the sports teams they have too! We can’t have those kids celebrating a score or a victory or just a great play! scarcasm off!

  • richtfan

    If schools would stick to educating and stay away from trying to be the hugging police, test scores might be higher than they are. What a stupid diversion from what schools are all about.

  • v3ng3nz

    Wow, really makes me wonder what these kids will be like when grown up. Will they be submissive, intellectual genius’s with no common sense? or will they just not care because that shiny blinky thing version 2 just came out. Look how sheepish we have become already, what will “they” be like !?

  • AK

    Breaking News:

    “Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School football team loses state-finals. Although the team has been undefeated for 35 years, during the semi-finals, the team members gave each other congratulatory hugs upon their win. They were all suspended and replaced by the chess club.”

  • Jack

    I’d like to say this is the dumbest school policy I’ve ever heard of, but i live in the town that banned students from saying “Meep.”

  • Comrade Jeff

    Comrades! Comrades! Please! Mother Government knows what is best for her children. When you, as parents, send her children to the Government Indoctrination Camps, you must understand that Dear Mother will raise them well for you. We cannot expect that you will have the time to instill morals and world views while being a productive earner for Dear Mother. Please, do not worry. Dear Mother cares for her children.

    Oh, by the way… Your papers, please, Comrade?

  • Hankmeister

    Liberal fascism strike again. Zero tolerance has always been a cornerstone of liberal fascism because it gives educational “progressives” the power they need to control not only the schools and curricula but also the students over the most assinine things.

    Now under the Obama Administration food nazis are going to be a mainstay of our mass government re-education camps. Government-approved chicken nuggest will trump home-made turkey sandwiches like it recently did in a North Carolina elementary school. Public schools today are nothing like the public schools I attended back in the 60s and 70s. Stalin would be proud.

  • Hugh Beaumont

    What about the condoms? Are they still being handed out?

  • J. King

    Another good reason why I send my kids to private school.

  • Nico

    Wait a minute…. it’s ok for the school to dispense condoms, but no hugging?
    Seriously, parents and students should organize and have a hug day, nobody go to class, everybody hang out in the hallways and hug. Government schools are starting to sound more and more like Brave New World.

  • Constitutional Law

    This Principal and other higher up entities that support him have set themselves up to face criminal charges.

    Let them punish a student or students for hugging and see what they themselve get. HAHAHAHAHA!!!

    People like these cuckoos have no business running anything. All that education but STILL dumb as dumb can be.

  • Argyle

    The principal says he want the kids to stay focused on academics. He should do the same.

  • Eric'sMom

    Obviously, the people who made this rule NEED a hug.

  • Henry

    Since when hugging has become another religious taboo ? Teach our children the rights from the wrongs instead of setting long and longer list of rules of do and don’t. There is something wrong with the education system in schools and families.

    • Jack

      Here’s a better idea. *I* will teach my children the rights from the wrongs and the school can teach them to read, write, and do math.

  • Leslie

    PARENTS– just threaten to pull out of the school en mass and the principle will cave like a house of cards—- the parents are in control not this damn principle….. enough already–
    don’t let them dictate what you should or shouldn’t do….. stand up already and grow a set—- tell theses jackasses NO NO NO

  • Frank

    tell the principle NO

    its that simple

    if you people even consider this principle’s “Policy” then your idiots….

    enough of this crap already—— this is ridiculous—- and the answer is NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

  • kcsparky

    Part of the price for embracing progressive liberal socialism. Pathetic!!!

  • jsmith

    This principal = a dope.

  • jncarlos007

    What this is, in effect, saying is that should you live in a country outside the US, where the customary greeting is a hug, then you are an inappropriate and decadent culture of ghoulish neanderthals.
    According to progressive educators that is.

    but then they will outlaw even so much as hinting that another culture might not be equal to their own.

    Wake up people

  • radio13

    That principal is a terrorist.

  • jay

    for those of you who are NOT in education…
    middle school boys are going through puberty…
    we just had to expel a young man last week – when he hugged a friend he touched her butt
    i don’t think the principal is talking about an innocent hug
    unfortunately the rule is for all hugging which includes the teenagers who are in an experimental time in their life

    • AParent

      Hi Jay, I think you need to re-read the article. The way it is written it seems that things were stated broadly enough to confuse the kids. So yes, I think the principal overreacted. And I do have a spouse in education, even though I am not in the field myself, so a lot of stuff I get by simply visiting, listening to what’s going on daily and reading the material.

      It is precisely *because* of puberty that these kids need to be taught appropriate physical contact if they haven’t learned it yet. Expelling that kid may have been draconian (don’t know the particulars of the case), but since it happened, it’s a good opportunity to teach the consequences of inappropriate actions, and what is appropriate in a hug. But banning hugging altogether only means an entire year-long of missed opportunities to teach appropriate behavior and correct inappropriate behavior at an immensely critical time (puberty), and the problem may simply come back in an explosive way later for those kids.

      By banning something that needs to be addressed all you’re doing is passing the buck, raising the intensity of their attitude towards the behavior and then hoping they grow out of it. And some kids will. Others will become creeps, maybe a few who wouldn’t have otherwise had you ignored it or redirected it instead of giving the very intense signal of a ban.

      But hey, at least it won’t be under the current teachers, right?

      There’s appropriate speech and inappropriate speech. There’s appropriate touch and inappropriate touch. Preschoolers know that. And in a lot of important ways (problems with impulse control, boundary testing), teenagers are a lot like preschoolers. When you have people with impulse control issues, the best thing is to correct early, often and consistently, lay down the rules clearly and enforce them every single time. Is it a lot of work? Absolutely. But it’s necessary if they spend so much more time at school than at home, where you can’t even guarantee it will happen anyway.

      At this point the school already made hugging a hugely important part of the kids’ mindshare by banning it. Some damage has already been done, but it’s still time to turn back and start some proper education regarding the topic, which now that it’s news *must* be addressed. So the opposite of the intended effect of the ban is what this principal achieved.

      I keep reading articles about how kids are losing socialization skills. They tend to blame electronics and smartphones. But reading articles like this one makes me wonder how much of a contribution is made by teacher+parent behavior and unwillingness or inability to teach proper social interaction, all of this in the same school systems that insist on explicit sexual education at sometimes too-early ages. The irony of “let’s sexualize them all and then not teach them proper social graces” would be funny if the results weren’t so tragic.


  • Ryan T.

    When I pick up my kid from HS, I have to wait for another couple of minutes while he hugs a dozen other kids. I tell him to “get your ridiculous hugging fad bs out of the way” before I arrive but he never does.

    Now he’s brought home 2 colds, a flu and some other barf-all-day illness from school JUST in 2012 alone. The school often has a high absentee rate when a flu’s going around because they “hug it around.”
    There’s nothing wrong with hugging, but for godsakes, show a little restraint before you hug that leper. (jk).

  • Feldwebel Wolfenstool

    Would “Christian Side-Hugs” be acceptable?

  • Esoldat

    Drugs – not Hugs!

  • Paul from NJ

    It’s OK if you’re gay, because if you ban it for gay people it would be a hate crime.

  • Robert g

    Time to stage a hug-in

  • dhc

    Do you need more proof that the dumbest people on college campuses study “education” and become teachers and public school administrators? They make the football team look like Rhodes Scholars!

  • Concerned Parent

    Sounds like a good time for a GROUP HUG!!!

  • Mao Z. Goebbels

    I for one think this is a fantstic policy. Der Kinder should learn to worship the almighty State, and as we all know, affection for others gets in the way of that. I don’t agree with the punishment. I think that those caught in a retrograde counter-revolutionary embrace should be thrown into a room and have the firehose turned on them. This is a proven method that cuts down on undesirable behavior.

  • Hawkdriver1961

    And liberals claim to be the standard bearers of love and compassion, yea right. Liberalism is a sick joke being played on the people. This dovetails with UK schools banning best friends. This is the beginning of 1984 people. Stripping away an individual’s humanity and emotions is a science to totalitarians. Our children little by little are being conditioned for a reason…..Disgusting

  • Joe Bite-me

    sounds like the pirate principal needs to get some

  • Joe Bite-me

    they will start wearing pants with holes in the front, and call it “fugging”…you watch

  • Dona D

    NJ is sick and getting sicker. I lived in NJ for 36 years and got out after 9/11 and will NEVER GO BACK! You can keep the insane property taxes, the invasion of illegals, the arrogant lib Koolaid drinkers. This story tops the cake.

  • Mememe

    That’s what happens when you vote Democrat, you stupid f v cks.

  • jesse

    Any teacher with critical thinking skills knows the difference between an affectionate hug and humping and I’m sure would deal with that situation.
    This is more liberal PC bull. And you’re a fool

  • Christy

    The public education system stinks on so many levels, this is just another example of how.

  • bruce

    Why weren’t there any boys hugging boys in the video? Why only girls hugging girls? A bit of a double standard, don’t you think?

  • xvbc

    The solution is for the entire student body to hug one another all day long. They cant have you all arested. Screw them

  • rex dart eskimo spy

    What next? Ban bowel movements to save on sewer taxes?

  • james

    How about if some jock scores some touchdown/basket/home run and their teammates hug them or, gasp, slap them on the butt, is that still ok???

  • iambicpentamaster

    Gummint skool idjuts…


    No hugging!… but here are all the condoms you want!!!

    • Christy

      The public school system is so a$$ backwards.

  • Dana



      you’re an idiot! I am sure you haven’t been hugged since middle school!

    • Christy

      There is something seriously wrong with you hun! Just so ya know, the LIBERALS are the ones creating all of these b.s. rules about no hugging, no best friends, but lets pass out condoms to everyone and give free lunches to illegals who shouldn’t be here. Or, how about letting perverted sexed teachers molest the kids and not remove them from the classroom but cover up their sick behaviors. The liberal are the problem!

    • Dona D

      you sound like a sicko to me

    • Dona D

      want to be clear that Dana sounds like a sicko to me… she needs therapy from going to these government run’s that working for ya’s?

  • williampenn

    Parents and students MUST rebel against totalitarian dictators in schools. Those people DO NOT run your life. Tell them to kiss off!

  • Mark Santeramo

    As a teacher, this is nothing new.

    It’s obvious that the idiot principal wanted to keep the hallways moving in between periods and make sure that kids weren’t late to class anymore for stupid reasons. Not a real surprise here; what’s hilarious is how he mothers of these kids have no clue as to why the principal would have said this sort of thing.

  • Jim from Boston

    More extreme leftism. They believe we should all rely upon government, THEIR government, for EVERYTHING! Another recent headline tells of a school in England that encourages children NOT to have a “best friend”.

    Need consoling? Government will console you.
    Need a best friend? Government is your best friend.
    Need anything? Call your local government office.

    Leftism is evil!

    • Christy

      Jim, you hit the nail right on the head with this one! I’m sure you also read the article awhile ago re how in liberal, socialist EU that they won’t let the kids play with gender specific dolls either. This is to promote the gay agenda and to brainwash the little ones into thinking that being ‘gender confused’ is ok.

    • Dona D


  • MucseraSlarebiL

    Well at least this way nobody will get sued for inappropriate contact. I think it’s a great thing that the Principal is doing because the only way to prevent his school being sued is to stop people from any kind of contact that might get a trial lawyer involved, probably one from Matawan, who wants to retire early. Everyone from Matawan can feel badly about the hugging loss but this is the state you’re living in.

    • Christy

      So it’s ok for the perv teachers to molest and ‘hug’ the kids but the kids cannot touch another for fear of a possible lawsuit? Sounds like another liberal elitist way of thinking ‘do as I say, not as I do’

  • katie

    omg, i go to this school!!!

    • Wenford Cullinghan

      “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality” ~ H. L. Mencken


    • Phil

      Arms by your side and don’t forget to goose step.

      • Lisa

        Love it!

      • Lisa

        Hate it!

        • johnny

          Like it….I think

      • ella funt

        Erections should also be banned.

        • Robert Provins

          Idiots like this principal shouldbe banned!

      • E D


    • jim

      you deserve a hug.

      • Auzzievick

        Can I hug my daog? How about my horse?

        • Auzzievick

          I meant “dog.”

    • Guitar Yankee

      Schools in the UK have banned best friends, claiming to protect kids from painful break-ups. Using that sanme argument, we should also ban marriage and the sharing of office suites. Those who can – do. Those who can’t even take their psych meds as prescribed – teach. Go hug your friends, Katie.. Your principal is not only insane, but having denied his original policy, it appears he is a liar too. He was probably the only kid in his school who never go a hug!

      • george

        “Using that sanme argument, we should also ban marriage …” We won’t ban marriage, we’ll simply redefine it.

      • Daisy

        “Schools in the UK have banned best friends, claiming to protect kids from painful break-ups.”

        Not at all the same issue. It’s really not to much to ask that students show proper decorum and not behave like they’re giddily mating at the mall while at school. School is, after all, a workplace for students. Not a popular notion, I recognize, nevertheless, true.

        • RANDJA

          yep a workplace and a place to learn about getting along with your fellow humans , to learn how to deal with relationships of all kinds. yes even sex and love and all the bad things that can go with them . to todays leaders schools are warehouse to keep kids in to make them all the same to control them and stop free thinkers and the one with promise. the individual is to be looked down on and scorned. I tell you this and you know it the world need the individual screw this village mentality . we need men and women that can think things thru to lead the future. IF WE HAVE ONE THAT IS

          • frgough

            Oh, good grief. How is being artificially segregated according to age helping you learn how to get along with your fellow human beings? What do you do, lock your children in a cage in the basement when they aren’t in school?

            School should be a place to learn. Develop friendships outside of school.

            • Frank McAvoy

              That’s not even remotely reasonable. The vast majority of children gain experience in creating and handling interpersonal relationships while in school.

              You really believe that allowing little kids to give each other a hug is going to interfere with education? We’ve gone the entirety of our history without banning hugging in schools and there has never been anything to suggest that kids learn better if we keep them from hugging each other. You’re insane.

        • urdrwho

          Daisy, yes they are there to learn but in the hallways they are also learning to interact with people. They talk in the halls, they laugh in the halls and a hug to a friend while walking in the hall is fine. What part of your work theory means no interaction with people on the way to another class.

          I sure as heck hope you aren’t a manager because you clearly don’t have management (people) skills.

          People are loosing their minds — no make that people are losing common sense.

        • terry

          I take it you are one of those people that NO ONE ever talk to or hugged in school.

      • johnny

        We should ban banning

        • Right


    • Joe

      having taught middle school, I can tell you that hugging can get out of hand. Dad, do you really want that hormonal eighth grader hugging your daughter?

      • Tired

        As a current high school teacher, my community expects me to intervene if the behavior is or seems inappropriate. This idea of banning is another dumb idea brought to you by an administrator with a book and no student relationships. There are kids who need a hug, high five, knuckle bump, verbal recognition, gold star on the forehead, or whatever…………because they aren’t getting it at home.

        • magicbeans

          I have also worked with kids and I agree with you. People and kids need hugs sometimes. Teachers and other grown ups are able to tell hugging from anything inappropriate.

          Absolute nonsense.

      • J Biden

        I dunno –

        What she look like?

        Whups – there I go again!

      • Last Sane Man, CA

        Clearly this is the job of the Middle School’s administration, not the parents! That would be preposterous, amiright?

    • Mao Z. Goebbels

      If I were you, I would encourage your fellow students to stage a “hug-in” during an assembly. Watch these clowns try to suspend everybody.

    • sam

      Can they still hug trees?

      • Gomer Obama

        Liberal teacher require tree hugging.

    • kathy

      TRANSFER now!

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