As a second-grade teacher in New York City, Eli Kaplan was told never to hug a child, he writes for the Good Men Project. If a child hugs a male teacher, he’s supposed to put his hands up in the air to avoid touching the student. “Essentially, if a student gave me a hug, I was supposed to act like I was getting arrested.”
Female teachers can hug without fear, but males are presumed guilty of pedophilia till proven innocent, Kaplan writes.
To avoid all complications, I was taught to show no affection at all (other than words of encouragement, and the occasional smile or high-five).
Kaplan ignored the advice and “freely gave out and accepted hugs.”
. . . our society perpetuates the idea that an appropriate male should be cold and stiff (not that kind of stiff) around young, impressionable, and fragile children. To be a man who is too warm, affectionate, or loving, is un-male, strange, and suspicious.
The Jerry Sandusky scandal is going to make it even harder for male teachers to express affection for students without fear they’ll be accused of misconduct.