High school bans students from physical contact to prevent them from having relationships
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A UK high school has banned all physical contact between students and romantic relationships.
A letter sent by assistant head teacher Miss Catherine McMillan, obtained by BBC News, outlines to parents that the school will not tolerate any ‘aggressive physical contact’ like 'hugging' or 'holding hands'.
If their child breaks this policy, they will lose many privileges.
The letter adds: “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.”
Yahoo News says the no touching policy has been introduced to prevent students from forming romantic relationships, which are strictly forbidden at the school.
The school has also instituted a ban on students using their mobile phone. If they're caught, teachers will lock it in a safe and the student can only retrieve at the end of the day.
One parent claimed to Essex Live that they hadn't been told about the new policies until the letter was sent out on January 9.
Instead, their child informed them beforehand.
The parent, who didn’t want to be named, told the outlet: "I couldn't believe it. In this day and age, I agree that inappropriate touching - hitting and punching - of course has to be dealt with. But they're not teaching students how to have a healthy relationship.
"The inference is that you can't touch anyone, children won't know what is or isn't appropriate, and the ability to empathise with their peers is being taken away.
"I have a daughter and her and her friends greet each other with a hug, but if they do that now they'll [face being] put into isolation."
Maggie Callaghan, executive headteacher for Hylands School, told the BBC: "All our policies are designed to support our culture of mutual respect and inclusion, and our most recent policy has received positive feedback from parents and pupils alike."
The new rules come as another school in Essex has prohibited physical contact.
In the letter from Southchurch High School, acting deputy head teacher Ms Murray told parents that ‘students are not allowed to touch each other whilst on site’.
The only exceptions would be when students are in PE or a performing arts class.
Murray adds: “This will help to create a calm and orderly atmosphere and ensure that there is no confusion about play fighting or anything more serious.”
Southchurch High School's deputy head teacher Tracy Airoll told BBC that the school received an ‘overwhelmingly positive response’ from parents in the wake of the new regulations.