Photo: Eighth-Grade Student Nick Martinez Suspended For Hugging Friend in School
These days, schools are both praised and criticized for their zero tolerance policies, but the story of a young boy and girl in Florida suspended for hugging in school has many wondering if their Palm Bay school went too far.
Nick Martinez, 14, of Southwest Middle School, and his friend, a 14-year-old female student at the school were suspended from school due to the school district’s policy of not allowing any sort of public display of affection.
According to Southwest’s student handbook, a one-day out-of-school suspension can be given to students kissing at the school. Those caught hugging or hold hands can receive a dean’s detention or suspension.
District policy does no stipulate any difference between an unwanted hug and one in which both parties consent.
A spokesperson for the school told local Fox affiliate that the policy was put in place to prevent wasting time on grey area situations.
Though the school board said it had no plans to change the policy, Nancy Crescente, Martinez’s mother, said she plans on speaking with the board.
The best friends now have suspensions on their permanent records.
Martinez said he did not realize he was doing anything wrong until the principal escorted him and his friend to the dean’s office.
‘Honestly, I didn’t know because I didn’t think hugging was a bad thing,’ he told WKMG. ‘I didn’t know you could get suspended for it.’