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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Student Fights School's "PDA" Ban

13-year-old Ashley Highberger, an eighth-grader at Fossil Hill Middle School in Fort Worth is your normal average teenager. She goes to school every day, she hangs out with friends, and she's working on a petition to overturn a school policy that she has taken an aversion to. It seems that Ashley got into trouble at school for being a typical teenage girl - more specifically, she was holding hands with her friend after school.

"I got yelled at from this teacher for holding hands," Highberger said. "She was like, 'You've got to stop right now because that's PDA.' And I didn't think that was right."

The school's principal, David Hadley, said students are certainly allowed to hug if they're grieving or celebrating, but other than that, no public displays of affection are allowed. Hadley claims that it's a long-standing policy that is common in middle schools throughout Texas and the rest of the country.

"If two students are hugging or kissing, I mean obviously I don't think their parents want them -- would you want your children to be hugging and kissing at school without your knowledge?" Hadley said. "If we see a student holding hands or hugging in the hallway, typically a teacher will come up and just say 'No public displays of affection,' and the kids will understand and just stop."

Hugs Outlawed!

While I realize that it's been 30 years since I was in middle school, I just don't seem to recall any problem with hugging, kissing, or holding hands with your boyfriend or girlfriend, nor do I recall any parents freaking out over it. At least not in the public school system - parents that did tended to be the sort who sent their kids to private schools or Christian academies.

Apparently Ashley's mother feels the same way, and has encouraged her to collect signatures from her friends and fellow students on a petition to overturn the unwritten policy. Highberger said she has already collected 300 names and hopes to add signatures from every one of the 1,000 students enrolled.

"Most of them are pretty supportive and they think it's a really good idea," Highberger said. "They think it should be changed."

Hadley said only a handful of students each year are written up for violating the policy, but Highberger said she wants it to go and will take her fight clear to the Keller Independent School District Board if necessary.

Good for her! And kudos to Mom for teaching Ashley to fight back against the system when she senses unfair treatment. That's an important lesson in how things are supposed to work in America.

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Blogger Stan Matuska said...

What's all this talk about banning PDA's in school! Why aren't they talking about banning cell phones as well! Kids with PDA's (Personal Data Assistant) are not as likely to be disruptive as those with cell phones. I say ban both. And what's all that talk about holdinig hands? I don't see where that has anything to do with kids bringing their PDA's to school! Are PDA's causing kids to hold hands and kiss - it must be the bling thing.

title="comment permalink">October 03, 2007 7:43 AM  
Blogger Sewmouse said...

When I was in high school we had a "No PDA" policy. Which was strange.

I mean, here you have a school that gets locked down twice a week whiile the paramedics come to take someone out who has OD'd - and where there is mace set off in the stairwells on a daily basis...

And kids all learning to kiss with their eyes open to keep watch for teachers while snogging against the lockers between classes...

Give it up, Schoolmarms - the kids are going to discover sex. It's been going on for centuries...

title="comment permalink">October 03, 2007 9:39 AM  
Blogger Vic DeMize said...

STAN - I keep waiting for Emily Litella to say, "Public displays of affection? Oh - well, that's different... Never Mind!"

title="comment permalink">October 03, 2007 10:18 AM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

It's getting to the point that the public school system is going 50 years back in time. I'm seeing more and more public schools turning to uniforms, the dress codes are ridiculously strict-especially when it comes to wearing t-shirts that are anti-war or anti-Bush (that will get the kids a detention and suspension if they don't take the shirt off), the PDA thing has gotten ridiculous, and any behavior that the kids show which, in effect, are symbols of kindness or love, is forbidden.

However, my son told me there were posters around his schools that were advertising a new club called "God not Gays". It was blatant gay bashing. This was in a PUBLIC school!

So, gay bashing is ok....holding hands with your boyfriend or girlfriend...not ok?

title="comment permalink">October 03, 2007 3:43 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

Stan -

1. Turn on coffeemaker.
2. Pour cup of coffee.
3. Drink coffee
4. Repeat until coherent. ;)

Sew - Exactly. Some things just can't be "legislated".

Vic - I've heard him use that voice. Run away. RUN AWAY!

ME - However, my son told me there were posters around his schools that were advertising a new club called "God not Gays". It was blatant gay bashing.

Sounds like your son could use some support from Mom to get some petitions going!

title="comment permalink">October 03, 2007 8:16 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

I'm Ashley's mom - Stacy DiMaggio. It's nice to read that some people support me. Thank you. I just wanted to clear up the fact that Ash doesn't have a boyfriend. She was holding hands with a friend, and has gotten into trouble on many different occasions for hugging and holding hands with boys or girls. I raised her to be affectionate. We are Italians! Anyway, it's nice to hear that someone else thinks it's rediculous too..... muah!

huggs.... Stacy

title="comment permalink">October 03, 2007 9:44 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

Stacy - You bet! We're behind you in a big way - this policy takes things WAY too far. Good luck to you and Ash!

title="comment permalink">October 03, 2007 9:51 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Your right it is not fair for students to be punished so severely for holding hands, hugging, or kissing(no tongue). ok the ban can go as far as to no behavior worse than making out but anything with lower standards than that is totally unfair. That is why me as a student of 14 at gatesville jr. high is also creating a petition against PDA and so are my freinds.

title="comment permalink">March 03, 2010 8:14 PM  

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