School outlaws hugging, high-fiving and shaking hands under strict touching ban

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A school in Greater Manchester has brought in strict new “no touching” rules that have been described as “a sure fire way to give them problems down the line”.

Parents of students at Mossley Hollins High School were told in a recent school newsletter that to improve the “positive school culture”, pupils were banned from any physical contact – including hugging, high-fiving, and holding hands.

The rule was introduced for a number of reasons, the school says, including to ensure that students “feel safe in school, have ‘a supportive environment in and outside of lessons”.

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But some parents have described the policy as "harsh" and "robotic".

The note explaining the new rule goes on to explain how it will be policed in practical terms. It said: “What does ‘no contact’ actually mean for our students?

"Always be safe by being careful and showing courtesy. No toy fighting or rough play. Never push or pull others. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.

"Physical contact and verbal abuse to others are not permitted. No jumping on each other, cuddling and no carrying of each other. No throwing of any objects

"No holding places or jumping in line when queuing for lunch. Sit properly on benches and do not overcrowd."

It continued: “This new rule has been made very clear to all of our students so that they all understand.

"Teaching and support staff have led presentations this week explaining our expectations so that every student understands why we are implementing this rule.”

Former student Emma Halpin, who left the school in 2019, says "nobody seems to be in favour" of the no contact directive.

She told the Manchester Evening News: “I used to go to the school, and I still know people there. Nobody seems to be in favour of it, from what I have seen.

“It does not seem to be going down very well. A lot of students feel pressured with the rules so far.”

Other comments on social media asked if students could provide first aid to an injured child, or if they would be allowed to "hug" a friend to comfort them. Another one to comment was a local Labour councillor for the borough.

Cllr Sam Gosling, who represents Stalybridge North, added: “This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in my life! Wow!

"Teaching children not to show affection to their friends is a sure fire way to give them problems down the line. If my child went to this school I would be absolutely fuming.”

A spokesperson for the school said: “This trial no contact policy builds on over 25 years of our no-contact practice. It is not new but just clearer.

"It aims to ensure all students can enjoy their own personal space and comes at a time when so many young students have missed out on this great practice at primary school and are learning again to socialise well together.

"We have used our years of good practice to create this easy-to-follow policy to help our younger students.

"Behaviour has always been excellent at the school but students and staff say the atmosphere is even calmer, friendlier and kinder than before. We will be monitoring the policy’s impact on healthy play and dialogue at break and lunchtime, outside, and we always listen to good ideas when communicated to us using the proper channels.”

The Daily Star has approached Mossley Hollins High School for comment.

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