When a HUG becomes a BUG!

Recently, a student from Kerala was expelled from his school for having hugged a girl for way too long in the school campus. Yes, you read that right; expelled for hugging!

What the student’s claim to be an innocent congratulatory hug, the school has identified as an explicit ‘sexual’ act in the school premises, thereby expelling, defaming and demeaning the two involved. As Shashi Tharoor rightly tweeted – By sexualizing innocent affection between friends and fellow students, we are creating self-conscious hypocrites trained to suppress their feelings. This really gets us thinking – where are we headed? Perhaps backwards?

It seems like stressing out the kids with overwhelming chunks of matter to be learnt year after year didn’t suffice; hence the education system is now keen on aiming at demoralizing them from all perspectives. Discipline sure is essential, in any school and in all forms. However, to what extent can a school go to maintain discipline at the cost of compromising on a child’s entire life ahead? With board exams up against them next year, the children feel lost and helpless, and are unable to believe a casual hug between them caused this uproar.

What messages are being passed on to children across the country? Co-ed schools are a good way for girls and boys to understand each other, learn to co-exist and of course, make friends too! Perhaps as a school, their duty is to keep “such” activities away from the campus, but in case of such an event, is this the way to handle it? Where is the sensitivity? Dealing with students of that age is so delicate. It can make or break them And with the news being blown out of proportion, we already know where this is headed. With technology and education moving ahead, the moral compassing is only pushing us backwards!

Building strong character, high self-esteem and confidence in children is way more important than teaching them to learn book after book. And by dealing with a “hug” this way, the former is far from being achieved. They are going to walk out as weak, demoralized, humiliated children. So one can only imagine what kind of adults they would be.

These kids are the next generation. And instead of holding their hands and guiding them in the right direction, they are being held and dragged out of their own schools, again, just for a hug! It’s time we change more than just our education system. It’s time we change our perspective and our outlook towards children, especially adolescents. And rest assured, with the right guidance, adolescents and teenagers would step into adulthood with more clarity and stronger character.

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