Should PDA Be Tolerated in School?

Kya Nethercot and Kenzie Nethercot

Pro

Across America, schools are cracking down on PDA, and it’s not just kissing that they’re restricting. In many schools, hugs and hand-holding – in one of the most radical cases, even  high-fives – are being banned, which begs the question: what is the price of outlawing affection?

School is not just a machine meant to mass-produce marketable workers but an instrument that molds our students so that they can successfully navigate life. In my opinion, the most important thing that a student can learn in school is not how to do analytical geometry, nor how to use a gerund, but how to create and maintain meaningful relationships. 

Often, those relationships depend upon touch. When your friend is crying, how do you comfort them? You hold them. When you’re strolling the halls with your new girlfriend, how do you let others know that she’s taken? You put your arm around her or hold her hand. These “public displays of affection” are an incredibly important part of everyday life. Perhaps before we turn a hug into a punishable offence, we should take more time to consider the development of our students as people, not just as professionals. 

Some would argue that PDA should be strictly banned because it makes other students uncomfortable, but with what students are exposed to on television or the internet, is it really necessary to censor them from it? Students are going to see things like this for the rest of their lives. Acquaintances high-five. Friends hug. Couples hold hands, and yes, sometimes they kiss. At what point does that really call for official intervention? Can’t we just give them a funny look and keep walking like one would in another public setting? 

 

Con 

We’ve all seen it: the couple attached at the waist, exchanging saliva in a corner or against a wall. Anyone who happens to look upon them is immediately made to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. This isn’t just distasteful. It is downright disrespectful.

Of course all physical contact shouldn’t be banned. A reassuring hug or a brief departing peck is reasonable, but more intimate actions should be left in private. School is, in fact, a public environment and no one wants to share in a couple’s private affairs. 

A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t do it in front of your parents, don’t do it here. Teachers and peers are entitled to feel comfortable in their place of work and study. This is not your bedroom so maybe consider saving it for a more appropriate time. 

In the world beyond school, there are also limits on what kind of contact is socially acceptable. Some of what goes on in our hallways would never be okay in other public spaces. You wouldn’t see this in the grocery store, at a restaurant, or especially in a work environment. Why should it be tolerated here?