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North Shore students have been banned from hugging during school hours because too many of them - mainly girls - were consistently arriving late to their classes.
Takapuna Normal Intermediate School deputy principal Sue Cattell said teachers last week suggested to students that they keep the hugs outside of the school day.
A trend among groups of year 8 students - 12- to 13-year-olds - had driven the call, Mrs Cattell said.
"It's just a little thing that they're doing. It got out of hand towards the end of morning tea time especially. There would be groups that got back to class 10 to 15 minutes late because they were going around making sure they'd hugged the whole group before they got back to class.
"Obviously they'll see their friends again at lunchtime so there's not a need for a great big hug. [The teachers' talk] was to remind them that this is like their place of work and they need to be back on time."
More than 600 attend the school and there were also concerns that some children's feelings could be hurt if they were left out.
Parent Lorna Subritsky, whose daughter attends the school, said she could understand it might be annoying for teachers for have stragglers to their classes but the issue could be dealt with by addressing the lateness, not the physical contact. Parents could have spoken to their children in order to cut down the time-wasting.
"It's like using a sledgehammer to squash an ant. I thought it was pretty bizarre," she said.
President of the New Zealand Association for Intermediate and Middle Schooling Gary Sweeney said he'd noticed the same trend in his own school, Pukekohe Intermediate.
"I do not really have a comment about whether another school is right or wrong with how they approach various issues. Being late to class is certainly an issue and if the school has put in place a rule to help hurry kids along to class, then I would support that."
- Yvonne Tahana, NZ Herald