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Maryland elementary schools ban treats, hugs and friendship

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Police investigate the scene of a shooting on a school bus in Homestead, Fla., near Miami, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. Miami-Dade police say a 13-year-old girl has died after she was shot by another student on the school bus in Homestead. (Photo: AP)

Taking a break from the ongoing crusade against gun-shaped pop tarts, another Maryland public school has come forward to ban a much more destructive weapon: hugs.

St. Mary’s County public elementary schools will not allow students to consume any food made by parents other than their own, due to health issues of students. Treats must be store-bought and contain an ingredient list.

Oh, and hugs from anyone other than the child’s parent are no longer allowed, either. If a parent registers to volunteer as a playground attendant, then he or she may play only with their own child – and that includes such little things as pushing a child on a swing.

More rules include parents not approaching a teacher at school, asking for a conference – those must be pre-scheduled.

“We think it’s the right balance between safety and parental involvement,” Kelly Hall, executive director of elementary schools and Title I, told Southern Maryland Newspapers Online. “At the same time, parents were expressing some concerns.”

I might be able to accept these things.  I understand that kids have food allergies, yadda, yadda.  I also understand wanting to protect your child from potentially perv-y adults.  Do I think banning treats and hugs is the answer?  No, not really.  But I will never understand this:

If one student wants to invite his or her classmates to their birthday party, then they’ll have to do it off-campus due to oversensitivity from students who may not be invited to the party.

Common courtesy aside, we are raising kids in a bubble these days.  We are so afraid of hurting their feelings that we are trying to shield them from their own emotions.  The fact is that disappointment is one in a whole slew of emotions that -- while uncomfortable -- are part of our human existence, just like joy and happiness.  The mark of an effective parent is the ability to sit with their child when they are feeling sad and when they are happy.

At the end of the day, it's not the "over-sensitized" students who are asking for these bans to be implemented -- it's insecure parents who can't tolerate seeing their children be human.

What do you think?  Leave a comment or tweet me your opinion!

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