The school prohibits students from any physical contact, including hugs

Mossley Hollins High School

Mossley Hollins High School in Greater Manchester (Image: MEN Media)

A school near Manchester has banned its students from all physical contact with each other, including hugs and playfights.

Mossley Hollins High School instituted the “No Contact” rule, which states that “no student should ever touch another student.”

This includes a ban on “carrying other students, cuddling, or playfighting,” including during breaks and lunch breaks, with the note that it “will not be tolerated.”

The Greater Manchester’s Huddersfield Road school said it introduced the rule to “continue to improve our positive school culture”.

However, its introduction has proved controversial, with many saying it would be too “tough” to impose such a blanket ban.

And following the media attention, the school issued a statement defending that the media should focus on “true stories,” such as the maturity of Year 11 students during exams.

Drew Duncan, chief executive of the Tame River Educational Trust and a former principal, wrote that the policy had been in place for years and was now only formalized.

An explanation of the rule in the school newspaper

An explanation of the rule in the school newsletter (Image: Mossley Hollins High School)

He said many students were struggling with the behavior after years of lockdown and “are not quite sure how to appropriately make friends or how to respect the personal space of others”.

“All we’ve done is turn our 25-year proven practice into an easy-to-follow rule to help our younger students pick up on what our primaries would normally have had the time to show them.”

He said the school has no plans to refrain from politics and “will certainly continue to do so in the building and on the move to classes as the atmosphere is even calmer, friendlier and friendlier than before”.

But he said: “We will be keeping an eye on it on the ground to see its impact on healthy play and dialogue. So far we are noticing the difference for the better and appreciate the many messages from supportive parents.’

Emma Halpin, who left school in 2019, says “nobody seems to be for the no-contact policy”.

She said: “I used to go to school and I still know people there. From what I’ve seen, nobody seems to be in favor of it.

“So far, many students have felt pressured by the rules.”

In a regular newsletter published on the school’s website, the school said the rule was put in place to ensure students “feel safe at school”, “have a supportive environment both inside and outside of the classroom”. , “show mutual respect and are friendly to everyone have a “positive attitude towards one another” and “healthy relationships with peers”.

The page explaining the new rule reads: “What does ‘no contact’ actually mean for our students?

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

“Physical contact and verbal abuse of others are not permitted.

“No jumping, cuddling and carrying each other. No throwing objects. No stopping or queuing when queuing for lunch. Sit properly on benches and don’t overcrowd them.’

It continued: “This new rule has been made very clear to all of our students so that they all understand. The teaching and support staff conducted presentations this week explaining our expectations so that each student understands why we are implementing this rule.’

But comments on social media have asked if the students could even give first aid to an injured child, or if they could hug a friend to comfort them.

Another added: “This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in my life! Wow! Teaching kids not to show affection to their friends is a surefire way to cause problems for them later.

“If my kid went to this school, I would be absolutely furious.”

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Justin Scacco

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