Tag Archives: no contact policy

Hand Holding Ban, No Touch Play and the Real Story

Dramatic headlines. Followed by a juicy sound-bite about small children forbidden to hug or even push their friends on the swings. Set up a camera across the street to film kids playing.

Et voila – a sensational story that goes viral in hours!

Of course, the real story. And the facts. And the true intentions of a diligent staff. Not so entertaining.

I’m a blogger myself, so… mea culpa, mea culpa. Sometimes we hear something that tweaks a rant we’ve had brewing deep inside and it seems like such a Great Opportunity to say something outraged and amusing important, we jump on it and gloss over the nuances.

Now I’m on the other side.

The purpose of the temporary no-contact rule was never to ban all touching amongst five-year-olds forever, nor to create an oppressive, over-protective atmosphere. It was simply to get a handle on an overly rough dynamic amongst one small group, so they can return to normal playground fun without injuries and fear. In the meantime, the kindergarten teachers are out there with them, hands-on, teaching appropriate touch, boundaries and respect.


This is something the staff felt was necessary. Would I handle it that way? I have no idea. But I’m not a kindergarten teacher. Parenting 1 or 2… or even 4 kids isn’t the same as managing a classroom and building a positive culture within it. They could just say “kids-will-be-kids,” shrug their shoulders and turn a blind eye. Instead they’re taking their job seriously. Whether you agree or disagree with their methods, I know that they care about the children and are doing their best.

You see, unlike all the other reporters and bloggers and opinion writers out there, I know Coghlan. I know the staff. This is my school. That’s me, and my children, walking in the front door on the local news last night.

The real story here is how quick we are to turn on the people who are educating our children. They don’t teach for the fame, prestige and huge paychecks, they do it because they love children and believe in education. As parents, it’s our job to back them up. And if they send a letter that is unclear, if they seem to be overreacting, if we don’t agree with their approach to a particular problem, it’s our job to talk to them, to clarify and find a solution. Not to bring in the media. Not to mock, belittle and misrepresent their efforts. No matter how sensational the headline.

I know the parents who were outraged by the letter that was sent home. They’re good parents, good people, and they’re trying to look out for their kids. They reacted to an admittedly poorly worded letter. Somehow the media heard about it and the whole situation snowballed into this ridiculous circus. Frankly, I blame a slow news week. This has only hurt people. It hasn’t helped anything.

We teach our children, when they have a problem, to go directly to that person and work it out. That’s how community works. We’re also teaching them to respect their teachers and the rules, even the ones they dislike. And if they ever have to keep their hands to themselves for a couple of weeks, it won’t be the end of the world.

After all, it’s a refrain my kids have heard from my lips on occasion. When things get out of hand on long road trips, we institute our own no-contact rule until everyone can regain some self-control. My parents did the same thing. I seem to be psychologically intact.

Coghlan is a wonderful school. Not a perfect school, but a wonderful one.

Too bad that’s not a sexy story.

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