Australian school bans clapping to protect the noise sensitive, but allows face-pulling, air punching, and silent wriggling

I usually end the work week with a cat post, or some cute animal, but this article is pretty funny.

An piece in reports that a primary school in Sydney, Australia, in deference to those students who might be sensitive to noise, has issued an edict that there will be NO clapping or cheering at public assemblies.

In its July 18 newsletter, the Elanora school has published an item under the headline “Did you know” that “our school has adopted silent cheers at assembly’s” (sic).

“If you’ve been to a school assembly recently, you may have noticed our students doing silent cheers,” the item reads.

“Instead of clapping, the students are free to punch the air, pull excited faces and wriggle about on the spot.

“The practice has been adopted to respect members of our school community who are sensitive to noise.

“When you attend an assembly, teachers will prompt the audience to conduct a silent cheer if it is needed.

“Teachers have also found the silent cheers to be a great way to expend children’s energy and reduce fidgeting.”

The bit in bold above (my emphasis) makes me laugh out loud—and snort in derision.

As the old Ginsu Knife commercial went, “But wait! There’s more!”:

The ban follows a direction at exclusive Cheltenham Girls High School in northwest Sydney for teachers to avoid discrimination and support LGBTI students by avoiding the words “girls”, “ladies” or “women”.

Teachers were told that if they didn’t support this decision, they’d be considered not only homophobic, but breaking the law.

But wait! There’s still more!! No hugging or handshakes! That’s bad: use knuckle handshakes instead!

Elanora Heights Public School’s ban on clapping in favour of silent cheering comes after several schools have banned hugging.

In April, hugging was banned at a Geelong primary school and children were told to find other ways to show affection.

St Patricks Primary School principal John Grant said “nothing in particular” had caused hugging to be replaced by high fiving or “a knuckle handshake”.

“But in this current day and age we are really conscious about protecting kids and teaching them from a young age that you have to be cautious,” Mr Grant said.

He said he had spoken to teachers about his decision to ban hugging and then the teachers had spoken to classes, instructing the children on different methods of showing affection. He had not sent any correspondence home to parents but said there would now be a letter going home on Monday.

“There’s a range of methods including a high five or a particular knuckle handshake where they clunk knuckles as a simple way of saying ‘well done’,” Mr Grant said. “There are also verbal affirmations and acknowledgments.”

Children at the school have been enthusiastic huggers, he said, with hugs given out to teachers and other children.

“We have a lot of kids who walk up and hug each other and we’re trying to encourage all of us to respect personal space,” Mr Grant said. “It really comes back to not everyone is comfortable in being hugged.”


What are we teaching our students when they prohibit them from a spontaneous hug? Does the downside of that (students who don’t want to be hugged) outweigh the upside (bonding between kids)? Are we breeding a generation of adults that can’t show that kind of affection—that will give a knuckle handshake to another person who’s had great news? I myself am somewhat shy about hugging, but when I overcome that tendency and hug a new friend, or someone I’ve known on the Internet for a long time, it always has a good result: bonding or more closeness.

I’m literally shaking and crying right now over Australia’s entrance into the pantheon of the Regressive Left. I can’t even. . .


Obligatory instruction/indoctrination for all new students.

h/t: Greg Mayer


  1. Cindy
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m literally shaking and crying right now over Australia’s entrance into the pantheon of the Regressive Left. I can’t even. . .


    What’s so amusing about this statement is that I have argued alongside SJWs who had to leave the debate because they were ‘literally shaking and crying’


  2. Ed Collins
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Well I have to admit that I don’t like being hugged by comparative strangers. Not that huggers care or take any notice. I really wish they wouldn’t, but even when I tell them or seem hesitant, I get hugged anyway. I find it to be an intrusion into my personal space.

    • bluemaas
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      I concur.

      Then, too, there is the ultimate touching: . In the USA and internationally. Termed as by administrators and professors, the overwhelming majority of them forever and ever till (a little bit of a change) now male, “’teaching’ the novices.”

      Curious deal is: in survey after survey after research study done when women were queried post – their own anesthetized assaults, the very vast majorities of them, that is, … … thus: IF they had just been asked WHEN they were conscious and before undergoing anesthesia, almost all of them would have said yes, would have volunteered themselves through signing legal documents and offered up their va – jay – jays for laboratory practical exercises. To the tune of time after time after time during The Same Unconsciousness by multiples of The Gloved Nascents!

      Consider this: Flip / Reverse i) the administrators’ gender [for the same scores of higher education – years’ worth] and ii) the gender upon whom the acts are taken.


      • ploubere
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink


        • bluemaas
          Posted July 23, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink

          Yeah, w o w: the Unimportance of Being Unconscious Women.

          For decades of medical personnel – instruction. Not of your basic


          • bluemaas
            Posted July 23, 2016 at 6:50 am | Permalink

            Not of your basic neighborhood home invasion = rapes of otherwise sleeping women. Those’d be the ones not only heinous but also crimes worthy of fullest prosecution.


  3. Eric Grobler
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m literally shaking and crying right now over Australia’s entrance into the pantheon of the Regressive Left. I can’t even. . .

    I need a safe space with a bottle of wine.

    • Christopher
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      I just need a hug. and the wine.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        I’d gladly give you a hug for a share of your wine.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        I usually go for both hugs and some whine myself.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Three cheers for that! And not silent ones.

  4. JohnH
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    We are living in a Monty Python skit and when John Cleese wakes up we will all disappear. It is the only plausible explanation I can come up with

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      I thought there was something ominous in the ginger Mythbuster’s avowal to “reject your reality and substitute my own”.

  5. Ann German
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to figure out how I (and my peers) survived the 50’s and thereafter.

    • Siggy in Costa Rica
      Posted July 27, 2016 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      I’m trying to figure out how these kids are going to survive in the real world.

  6. Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Leftists want to ban hugs and righties want to build walls. Isolationism must be a common human failing.

    How do you help people who aren’t comfortable being in a hug? More hugs. My kids aren’t comfortable eating vegetables, should I ban vegetables from my house to cater to their discomfort? Now, obviously, I can’t force open my kids’ mouth and shove broccoli down their gullet, no matter how tempting, and neither should a person be forced into a hug, but, like vegetables, human contact should be encouraged and not treated like a bad thing. Maybe we wouldn’t hate each other so much if we weren’t so quick to keep our distance.

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      That idea makes me VERY uncomfortable. I grew up in an enforced hugging environment at home, and I hated it. One of the reasons I liked school was that people didn’t spontaneously hug there. I didn’t need more hugs, I needed more personal space.

      As an adult now in my 50s, I still feel awkward hugging people, though I do it when a friend or a relative wants a hug. That doesn’t mean I’m not bonded with these people, or not happy in their company.

      Now, banning all hugging is an overreaction, but kids should be taught to ask and only hug if the other person wants it. How effing hard is that???

      • Jeremy Tarone
        Posted July 23, 2016 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        And taught how to say no, and that it’s OK to say no.

        • Siggy in Costa Rica
          Posted July 27, 2016 at 6:17 am | Permalink

          That, I think is the thing that should be taught. Feel free and unashamed to say you don’t want a hug and be considerate of others wishes.

  7. rickflick
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    But wait. There’s more.
    Kid’s will be banned from glancing or smiling at another student. This protects the neurotic students who interpret this as sneering and derision. For this reason, blinders will be worn a all times to avoid sideways glances and minimize harm to our fragile minorities.

    • somer
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      We’ll just have to perfect “the silent wiggle”

      • somer
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        Regarding the hugs though, as opposed to the silent everything, I think a school environment is different from adult social environment – it could get out of hand in some schools from students, and its generally not advisable from teachers these days. Or a pupil to a female teacher sometimes. If the principle finds that hugging has become a problem, then fair enough to make a ruling on it. Personally not so keen on fist bumping but it seems to have got into the lingo

  8. David Evans
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Surely the article must have intended to write “Cheltenham G***s High School”? Or maybe “Cheltenham G***s H**h School”, since the H word is blatantly altitudist.

  9. ritebrother
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Would it be too hard to simply respect those who do not wish to be hugged, while at the same time allowing others (likely a vast majority) continue to benefit from hugs? Or does that place too much of an exclusive burden on those not wishing to be involved in hugs? I know my two young girls would be devastated if their beloved teachers were not allowed to hug them anymore.

  10. jimroberts
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    ‘… avoid discrimination … by avoiding the words “girls”, “ladies” or “women”.’

    I think I understand: human females are so filthy and disgusting that to mention them is unacceptable discrimination against the right-thinking members of our society.

    • Cindy
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      ‘… avoid discrimination … by avoiding the words “girls”, “ladies” or “women”.’

      Because it’s transphobic, that’s why.

      • jimroberts
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Can you cite any trans person identifying as female who has objected to being referred to as girl, lady or woman?

        Ans even if you can, I feel the need to balance the harm of that against the massive misogyny of refusing to mention half the human race.

        • Cindy
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          No no, it’s transphobic because not all people with female bodies identify as women and not all people with male bodies identify as men.

          Male and female are, in fact, non-existant:

          • jimroberts
            Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            Exactly what is it about the terms “girls”, “ladies” and “women” that makes them more offensive than “boys”, “gentlemen” and “man”?

            • Cindy
              Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

              “Boys, gentleman,and man’ are also problematic however…

              Girls, ladies and women is problematic because:

              Some students may be non-binary – they identify as people who have no gender/sex

              Some biological boys identify as girls, so they feel ‘erased’ when the biological girls are identified as girls and they are not…

              Some biological girls identify as boys, so they feel ‘erased’ when misgendered as girls…

              And some students may identify as otherkin – ghosts, wolves, dragons, fire, kitties etc

              • somer
                Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

                Also, just a thought maybe they are only focusing on transphobicness of girls, ladies or women because its a girls school … or maybe a persons temporarily identifying as young female gender school??
                …..”And some students may identify as otherkin – ghosts, wolves, dragons, fire, kitties etc”
                Lol 😛
                PS in Australia the old Gingsu knife commercial was called “Demtel” – it went on for years (showing my age) with SJWs theres always more unfortunately and in my humble opinion they deflect attention from or encourage our quotient of rednecks and religious politicians

  11. scottb
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    FYI, I was recently informed by a colleague that handshakes at tech conferences are now discouraged in favor of “fist bumps”. The reasoning: germs.

    • somer
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      I think fist bumps are fun very occasionally between close friends outside work but otherwise juvenile. And they didn’t exist as an Australian thing when this cranky old fart was a girl

  12. Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I read this yesterday and nearly retweeted about it. I stopped to ponder the frequency of clinical sound sensitivity (I am on the sound sensitive spectrum; jump at small noises; don’t go to concerts). Despite whatever actual neurological sound issues may be present in some, it seems much more probable that the “sensitivity” here stems from dislike and enrapture with the trend to coddle.

    Then last night when checking out a handful of videos by Christina Hoff Sommers on the Factual Feminist, I came across this one about the trend to silence clapping, with “feminist jazz hands.”

    • rickflick
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I’ve looked in on school rallies and they can be thunderously loud. The other science teacher and I did not attend. The answer is, let students decide if they want to go or not. If not, the quieter kids can hold their own “rally” in their own way. Imagining an energetic child having to “wriggle about on the spot” just doesn’t cut it. I’d guess she needed the toilet in a hurry.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        It’d be cool to be able to play with the awareness of sound, perhaps allowing the wild thunder and then schooling them to reign it in with their feminist jazz moves, which could still allow coordination without being total censorship and also have the benefit of providing the kids with multiple ways of connecting and expressing. It could be fun to go from maniac loud to soft and excited and back to loud again.

        Of course, there are also ear plugs.

        (Part of me does cringe, even at the thought of thunderously loud environments. Hellish. I had a hard time the summer I lived in Manhattan.)

  13. Daniel
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The correct term for a “knuckle handshake” is “fist bump”. Now with that out of the way, why is this any different than a handshake? Someone said something about “germs”, but that doesn’t seem to make any sense to me.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      3, or maybe 1 second rule?

      Trying to get in the spirit of keeping our kids safe from innocuous things, is fist bumping really a good thing to teach them. Some kids might have sensitive knuckles. And encouraging them to hit each other? Seems like that might instill an attitude of casual pugilism.

  14. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    This imo is an another example of people trying to do the right thing and going so far they get it wrong. It’s the result, I think, of SJWs taking control of the narrative.

    If you have kids in your school who have, for example, Asperger’s syndrome, sudden loud noises can be distressing for them. If that’s the case a work around needs to be found. However, it shouldn’t be extended into high school years by which time the kids concerned should have learned to deal with the situation.

    Hugging is about respecting personal space, and it’s better to teach the kids to speak up for themselves if they don’t like it than forbid it imo. We were taught never to speak back to adults, and it’s something that can cause a lot of bad stuff to be hidden. Kids these days are taught to speak up for themselves, which has been good for catching paedophiles.

  15. tubby
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Weird. I never felt it was a problem to tell people not to hug me. Except that one obnoxious person who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

    • Christopher
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      I have a great deal of social anxiety, hell, even going to my favorite bookstore can cause me to sorta freak out and sweat through my t-shirt. But, while I don’t much like hugging from strangers or people I’m not engaged in a relationship with (which would be the everyone, anxiety like this makes it hard to date) I’ve never had much of a problem saying no to a hug, or just putting up with it. Hell, it’s only a few seconds, even if it does make me spiral into a fear of “did my pit sweat show? do I stink? How’s my breath?” and so on. I just f*cking deal with it, ya know? I get really freaked by my many European friends’ bisous, which is more intimate by far, and one I’m not culturally equipped to fully deal with, but again, I just fumble through it. I survive. Maybe if I hadn’t been such an odd duck as a kid, given MORE physical contact (of the appropriate kind) then I wouldn’t have all the issues I have today. This is the wrong way to go about it, they’re not helping those kids, they’re setting them up for serious mental issues (like mine!)

  16. darrelle
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Hugging has been against the rules in grade schools in my area for at least 4 or 5 years, perhaps longer. I learned of it one day from my children while taking them to school in about 3rd grade. It seemed, and still seems, to be a completely asinine policy to me.

    In precisely the place where you want to foster thoughtfulness, kindness and respectfulness in young children you disallow a behavior that promotes all of those things? What message does that send to the children.

    Probably the same kind of message sent when you constantly lecture children about how bullying is bad and should be reported and then either ignore or worse humiliate children when they do report it.

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    As the old Ginsu Knife commercial went …

    Keep this up, Jerry, and you could go down as the Ronco Ron Popeil of the bl*g*sphere. What else ya got, pocket fisherman and chia pet sub-references? A little slice-and-dice on the Veg-O-Matic?

    Maybe schools should just issue kids their own soundproof, climate-controlled plastic bubbles on the first day of classes.

  18. GBJames
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I sought evidence that was some kind of “satire” site. I couldn’t find any.

  19. Graham Head
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Reading this,every time I saw ‘knuckle handshake’ I read it as ‘knuckle sandwich’. A completely different type of greeting.

    And if girls, ladies and women are banned are boys, gentlemen and men banned as well?

  20. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    “The bit in bold above (my emphasis) makes me laugh out loud—and snort in derision.” Good thing there are no noise-sensitive people around, Dr. Coyne, … at least I hope that is the case, otherwise… How could you be so insensitive? 🙂 Wow. If this is not satirical, maybe it is the nadir of mollycoddling and will mark the beginning of the end of this disturbing trend.

  21. Merilee
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    At first I read it as it’s OK to pull someone else’s face then quickly remembered that Brits and Aussies call our “making” faces pulling faces. Too funny – and ridiculous on all counts🙀

  22. kelskye
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    “I’m literally shaking and crying right now over Australia’s entrance into the pantheon of the Regressive Left. I can’t even. . .”
    Entry? Australia has had a long history of what we dub wowserism.

    • somer
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      The Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC or Aunty) and SBS (special broadcasting service) though usually very good do to my mind lecture us on issues covered on this site, whilst on the other hand you have conservative religious politicians Catholic and Protestant imposing their version of family values (e.g. not just gay rights but many aspects of family law and removal of government funding to reproductive health centres), or the successors to the Fred Nile movement. One of them on radio even recommended that the archaic law of provocation should be kept so that killing of spouse over adultery would be seen as deterrent against sin!

      • kelskye
        Posted July 23, 2016 at 4:36 am | Permalink

        The ABC does really well to be as non-partisan and non-controversial as possible. (So much so that people on the left complain about its right-wing bias, and conservatives describe it as a haven of left wing propaganda.) Every time I see SBS posting anything of length, however, it’s always moralistic in tone (it knows its audience – at least among English speakers).

        Wowserism is certainly not solely a left-wing phenomenon in Australia – it’s just the left is more culturally in ascent these days. We threw off the shakles of right wing wowserism in the 60s and 70s (or so I’m led to believe – it’s all before I’m born), but never truly killed it. So now we have both left-wing and right-wing puritans claiming the moral high ground and infecting politics with its moralistic nonsense.

        • somer
          Posted July 23, 2016 at 5:46 am | Permalink

          I agree, and generally I think the ABC does an excellent job. Its just on Religion (e.g. Online ABC ‘Religion and ethics portal” or the topic of Islam (on Radio National) I not think it does such a good job – e.g. Scott Stephens or the (now axed) Encounter program. Also Late Night Live has a pretty left bias – if you see the comments they are almost always hard left. Also I think (on TV) the Drum and Q&A can be biased on some issues. I actually think our politicians are pretty narrow – they focus on laissez faire capitalism versus welfare state and that’s the debate. Commentary on the Drum and Q&A is pretty left – especially on refugee and religion issues – I’m pro migration because we have a good program of criteria and its good to have diversity but I believe we have a right to control who comes here and if we removed the visa controls on certain countries we’d probably get hundreds of thousands of rural Muslims a year and I don’t care if that sounds racist to some people because its not – in the longer term it would be survival of liberal humanist values gone forever

          • somer
            Posted July 23, 2016 at 5:50 am | Permalink

            Instead i think we should take considerably more refugee intake than we do currently through the UNHCR camp program – i.e. a number we agree and nominate ourselves each year.

  23. jeffery
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to be checking Snopes frequently in the next few days, to see whether this was a “spoof”, or not- if it isn’t, THEN I’ll shake and cry!

  24. Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  25. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Well I have an extreme antipathy to ‘high-fives’ as a symptom of American cultural imperialism. (Sort of the opposite of cultural appropriation). Let Americans do it if they wish. I’d be pissed off if a school tried to impose that on my kids.

    Maybe a thumbs up or a Churchillian V-sign would be acceptable.

    But in reality, this whole business of trying to legislate children’s ways of expressing themselves is lame, brain-dead and moronic.



    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      (… and I say that as someone who is *not* fond of being hugged or handshakes or even “How are you?” unless it’s from a close acquaintance who genuinely wants to know how I am. But I put up with it because the alternative of regulating social contact by fiat is far worse.)


  26. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Gee, isn’t there some way to ascertain whether someone is comfortable with hugs or not??

    One of the very first LGBT support groups I was ever familiar with (local to Cleveland, OH) was called “Hugs”. Somehow calling it “knuckles” just doesn’t sound right.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Nor would it seem quite right to say – Oh, I really need a knuckle right now. 8-(

      • Posted July 23, 2016 at 1:50 am | Permalink

        Or “I need a wiggle.”

        • Posted July 23, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink

          That sounds like a euphemism …


        • Merilee
          Posted July 23, 2016 at 8:15 am | Permalink

          I attended many a faculty meeting in which a wiggle would have been vewy welcome.

          • Filippo
            Posted July 23, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            “I need a wiggle.”

            You can get four of them Down Under. They’ve made millions singing kids songs. As the old standard goes, “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”

    • reasonshark
      Posted July 23, 2016 at 3:36 am | Permalink

      That’s what I was thinking. I thought the principle of liberalism was that people should be allowed to do what they want unless it harmed somebody else. And by harmed I don’t mean “mildly inconvenienced” or “personally didn’t interest”.

      In fact, even taking this “Ban noise to protect sensitive kids” thing on its own terms, isn’t it blatantly discriminatory against kids who like noise and feel put out by awkward silence or standoffish social gestures? Who’s banning silence to protect them from the so-called harm of feeling weirded out or disturbed?

      What’s so stupid and frustrating about these bans is that, instead of showing sensitivity for a few people, they are showing a total insensitivity towards human social skill and trust that suggest too much time spent in a babyproofed ivory tower. Isn’t it enough to teach kids how to respect other people’s wishes and preferences when they meet them and as they get to know them? Are they no longer smart enough to learn from others and work things out among themselves, even if only with an experienced adult to explain helpful things to them nearby? Do we have to throw commandments around to shepherd their tiny little minds into being open-minded? And do we really expect them not to see the hypocrisy in such a proposal?

  27. Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    As a person who despises over hugging, congenial hugging, unnessecary work place hugs, night club kiss n’ hugs, bro hugs, and most other non-familial hugging, i can believe that there are a few students and teachers who might appreciate this.

    However, i loath the notion of banning the hug-happy from their daily hug routine. It’s a regular in-group activity, and many normal people seem to need regular hugs. Let them have their hugs.

  28. Filippo
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Male teachers at the K-12 level in the U.S. are probably prudently and well-advised to not initiate hugs and, if hugs are offered/initiated by students, to assume a passive stance. I’ve heard enough “horror stories” about middle school girls accusing male teachers of some kind of inappropriate touching to not heed the warning.

    I occasionally see the primary/middle school boy insistently, repeatedly (attempting to) hug a female teacher, who obviously has had more than had her fill of what are basically male child/budding adolescent advances on her body.

    Regarding noise:

    There are students who absolutely will not rest their voices, and will not pay attention, in class when the teacher is attempting to give directions.

    And of course adults too. Anymore try going to a concert for the purpose of actually hearing the performer. (I’m talking about someone like, e.g., Johnny Mathis or Tony Bennett, as opposed to somebody like Garth Brooks swinging on his jungle vine, or some arena rock act, where of course attendees sing along and ululate and jump up and down, and have their heads stuck up the ports of their digital devices, etc.) I recently went to a concert where two women sitting next to me just had to sing along with the performer; a man to their left apparently didn’t know how to silence his cell phone, prompting a visit from an usher; the couple right behind me were apparently compelled by the FSM to yak during a song. I kept my mouth shut so as to keep what peace could be had. To have called on them about it would have made the situation worse. I resisted the temptation to sing for them at length – without their permission – during intermission and at the end of the concert, primarily for the sake of my dear wife. I’ve read that movie theatre attendance is down, no doubt for at least some of the above reasons.

    There is a fund raising outfit in the U.S. called “Boosterthon.” I can’t blame schools for wanting to raise money, but this outfit comes in, kids are herded into the gym for an initial, obligatory “pep rally.” There is loud, raucous music, offensive to the ears (at least mine) and a general assault on the senses. Kids are basically captive, not in a position to be empowered to stand their ground and insist on their right (assuming kids have any rights) to opt out of it. Staff are put upon to provide a “good example” by getting up and following the bidding of the (seemingly exclusively) male Boosterthon employees, gesticulating, ululating, and whoo-hooing. Were I a parent, I would much rather write a check for some reasonable and appropriate amount rather than subject a child to such intense, sports-mindset-obsessed fatuous bloviation.

    And so it goes in such an egregiously noisy, fatuous pop culture society.

    • Jeremy Tarone
      Posted July 23, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      That is why I generally don’t go to concerts and movies. I would rather watch a movie in my own home, without sticky floors, wet seats, people talking and their cell phone going off.

      I went to two concerts as a teen, both left my ears ringing for days, which of course is signalling permanent hearing loss.

      It seems insane to me that some music lovers listen to music so loud it’s badly distorted and causing permanent hearing loss. I want to listen to music when I’m old too, and not just the middle tones.

      I’d rather listen to a studio recording, unless I’m listening to an orchestra or acoustic instruments. I especially enjoy stringed instruments, like violins and bass in person.

  29. ploubere
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    My list of people who I would like to be hugged by is fairly short.
    The list of people who would like to be hugged by me is probably shorter.

  30. somer
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    More pain for the Labour party.
    Left of the Labour party get the portfolio of their choosing – education

  31. Posted July 23, 2016 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    This is not the regressive left. It is simply not the left, but it certainly is regressive.

    • somer
      Posted July 23, 2016 at 12:31 am | Permalink

      There is a large continent in the left (and right) that sees all problems as due to Western capitalism which delivers imperialism and inequality. Regressives additionally draw up a boundary of marginalised and oppressed in a hierarchy where white working class is relatively unimportant, and anti western non Europeans or non AngloCeltics are given particular attention.

      Capitalism certainly has its dark side its one of the vehicles for human dark sides – there are many other reasons.

      • somer
        Posted July 23, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        Sorry theres a large contingent of the left that sees all problems as due to capitalism
        and a large contingent of the right hat sees capitalism as the solution to all problems

        • Filippo
          Posted July 23, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

          Reminds me that a continent is contingent on a sufficient amount of contiguous land. (Sorry 🙂 )

  32. Vaal
    Posted July 23, 2016 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    I have tinnitus and hyperacusis (oversensitivity to sound – everything sounds too loud and harsh when it is acting up) so crowds clapping and cheering are pretty painful and I have to plug my ears.
    And those rules for no cheering/clapping in that school still sounds nuts to me. I’ll come up with my own ways of dealing with it, no way I’d want to dampen other people’s reactions.

    My youngest son is on the autistic spectrum and when he was younger he could get anxious in loud crowds. But we worked around it. If he was feeling anxious he could leave an assembly (or not attend) to a quieter place.
    It all worked out.

    • Filippo
      Posted July 23, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Periodically at school I see a child wearing headphones to minimize the noise he apparently finds an ordeal to endure.

  33. Posted July 23, 2016 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    There is no ban on clapping.

    There is no ban on hugging (I couldn’t find a better source).

    In both instances there are plenty of reasonable explanations why a limiting of those behaviours might be reasonable under various circumstances – the first, for example, if there was a large autistic population in the school; the second, if there was a temporary bought of headline or infectious disease.

    I like this blog, and you as a writer. But maybe check your confirmation bias at the door. And wipe away those tears :p

    • Posted July 23, 2016 at 4:41 am | Permalink

      This comment was fine except for your snarky last comment, “check your confirmation bias at the door”. Did you read the rules for posting at this site? Apparently not. Nor do you seem to have read the sources you quote.

      There is indeed a ban on clapping at assemblies, as I said in my post. Here’s what it says at the source you cite:

      A “clapping ban” on students has not been introduced at Elanora Heights Public School.

      To minimise discomfort to a teacher with a hearing disability that causes acute sensitivity to loud noise, the school has asked students to refrain from clapping and cheering at assemblies. These are held once every few weeks.

      At other school occasions involving all students in the school, such as sporting events, artistic performances, smaller gatherings of students and staff, there are no restrictions on students clapping or cheering.

      The school’s Parents and Citizens group was consulted and support this decision.

      Checking your other source, there is “strong encouragement” not to hug or touch, so we see a distinction without a difference. A quote from your source:

      St Patricks Primary School principal John Grant allegedly told students should refrain from physical displays of affection and encouragement late last week which has since sparked a media mix-up.

      Hugging between students and also between staff and students has reportedly become a problem at the school and Mr Grant wanted teachers to educate students on alternative ways they can show affection.“Let me be clear St Patrick’s school has not applied a blanket ban on hugging,” the statement read.

      “We are simply focussed (sic) on teaching all students to respect their own and other people’s personal space.

      “We are encouraging students to consider other forms of positive acknowledgement as all students have the right to feel safe and comfortable at school.”
      Mr Grant earlier told News Corp that children at his school have been “enthusiastic huggers” and approached teachers to show alternative ways students could show they care about one another, without being touched.

      The principal says he is trying to “respect personal space” and wants students to “high five” or “clunk knuckles” with each other as an alternative way of encouraging each other.

      Maybe you should check your captiousness and snark at the door, and I encourage you to frequent other websites where you can be as rude as you want.

    • Filippo
      Posted July 23, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      “I like this blog, and you as a writer. But maybe check your confirmation bias at the door. And wipe away those tears :p”

      In the spirit of civility and congeniality, why not rather something to the effect, “You might wish to consult these links/sources for further information on this topic”?

  34. Posted July 23, 2016 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    I can’t speak about the primary school story, but the one about Cheltenham Girls High School is a beat-up by Murdoch’s right-wing tabloid Daily Telegraph and then taken up by its broadsheet stablemate The Australian the day _after_ it was shown to be wrong by the Guardian Australia. This makes me very suspicious about the Daily Telegraph’s reporting of the Elanora school story as well.

  35. Posted July 23, 2016 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    Having been the recipient of a very welcome
    hug by the male nurse practitioner at my cardiologist’s office today, I was appreciative and very definitely not offended. There are many people, young and old, in the world who haven’t received, and don’t receive, enough positive touching from other human beings. Children raised without being
    touched by their parents or other care-givers
    do not develop as they should. Remember the stories of children in orphanages that are permanently damaged by not receiving the contact and touching they needed?

  36. bric
    Posted July 23, 2016 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    I just learned via an email to the Wittertainment podcast (and if you don’t know what that is: sad) that at the University of Brighton Graduation Ceremony on Friday Sanjeev Bhaskar, the Chancellor, gave every graduand a hug along with their diplomas. As far as I know none are suing him.

    • Filippo
      Posted July 23, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      ” . . . the Chancellor, gave every graduand a hug along with their diplomas. As far as I know none are suing him.”

      I think it quite nice and civil of them to so accommodate him at such a public event.

    • jeremyp
      Posted July 23, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      How do you hug somebody?

      You just hug them.

  37. cnjohnson2012
    Posted July 23, 2016 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Hello Jerry

    I am a bit surprised to see you accepting something you read on the internet so uncritically. That news site especially publishes a lot of rubbish. Consider the possibility that you have been taken for a ride.

  38. Don Quijote
    Posted July 23, 2016 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    Spanish society is very touchy/feely, handshakes, cheek kissing, back slapping and arm around the shoulders type of hugs being the norm. If you are noise sensitive don’t even think about going into a Spanish bar or restaurant.

  39. Stephen
    Posted July 23, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    You can’t fix stupid!

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