You have probably been breathlessly awaiting the second installment in my (very) occasional series called “Obscure School Policies You Didn’t Know About, and Probably Will Never Have To.” My first installment was about the intricacies of renting schools for bingo.

Now we turn to the touchy issue of hugging. Parent and former school board candidate Scott Barnett tipped me off to a policy enforced at Standley Middle School: No kissing, no holding hands, and no hugging between students.

“I’ve heard of zero tolerance for guns and zero tolerance for drugs,” Barnett said, “but zero tolerance for hugs is new for me.”

Standley is not alone and the rule is nothing new: The no-hugging rule is a fixture at several San Diego Unified middle schools, including Montgomery and Wangenheim, which include the policy in their student handbooks and policies. Standley Principal Heidi Eastcott Lyon said the rule is meant to squelch any public displays of affection.

Allowing hugging is a slippery slope, Lyon said, and preteens are prone to overly generous interpretations of “hugging.”

“When does a hug become more than a hug? Where do you put your hands?” Lyon asked rhetorically.

Where indeed? Curious or riled about other school rules? Feel free to shoot me an e-mail at


Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.