‘No Hugging, Focus on Study, No Romantic Relationships’: UK School’s New Rules Angers Parents

Edited By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Last Updated: January 13, 2023, 10:59 IST

Chelmsford, United Kingdom

Children in Chelmsford’s Hyland School are being barred from hugging, holding hands and having romantic relationships (Image: Unsplash)

Children in Chelmsford’s Hyland School are being barred from hugging, holding hands and having romantic relationships (Image: Unsplash)

Chelmsford’s Hylands School mandated that students cannot hug, hold hands or have romantic relationships

A school in UK’s Chelmsford has been accused of imposing draconian rules on children after it banned pupils from hugging and holding hands, the EssexLive said in a report.

The Hylands School said they will not allow romantic relationships between students and those caught using mobile phones will have their phones locked in the safe for the rest of the day.

The school authorities defended the move and said most parents are supportive of the police and said that it leads to mutual respect among pupils and prepares them to behave professionally when they enter workplaces in the future.

EssexLive cited a letter by the school’s assistant headteacher Catherine McMillan which said that Hyland School authorities will not tolerate “any physical contact” between members of the school community.

Parents said they were apprised regarding the new rules by their children and they were not informed regarding the policy by the school authorities.

A parent speaking to EssexLive, criticised the move and said that inappropriate touching, hitting and punching must be dealt with and these rules do not teach students on how to develop a healthy relationship.

The parent told the UK-based local news outlet that the school is encroaching on children’s “ability to empathise with their peers.”

The school outlined that “any aggressive physical contact, hugging, holding hands, slapping someone” will not be tolerated.

“This is in order to keep your child safe. If your child is touching somebody else, whether they are consenting or not, anything could happen. It could lead to an injury, make someone feel very uncomfortable, or someone being touched inappropriately,” the letter seen by the news outlet, said.

“While we want your children to make really positive friendships, hopefully lifelong ones, we don’t allow romantic relationships at Hylands. Your child is of course able to have these relationships with your permission outside of school,” the letter further added.

The letter said that while in school, students will be told to focus on learning and the school does not want children to be distracted by relationship issues.

Parents speaking to the news outlet have criticised the school for imposing the new rules. Most of them called the approach archaic and said it is unnecessary in this day and age. They said that this move will also hurt children’s mental health.

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