Kage Baker was really good at predicting human trends in the not-so-distant future sections of The Company
series. Unfortunately, the world has once again proved her right.
While watching the evening news I heard about an elementary school
that has effectively banned hugging. On school grounds, parents are allowed to hug only their own children. They are not allowed to hug other people's kids. Although not mentioned in the article, I believe the TV coverage said that teachers are not allowed to hug. They also mentioned that parents may not push other people's children on the swings.
Which brings me to Kage Baker. I can't recall the title, but in one of the earliest short stories about Alec Checkerfield he's very young and out in public with his family's butler. He's very upset because his parents and nanny are gone, and so he hugs the butler. Butler immediately freaks out and asks why Alec would hug him, doesn't he know what could happen, the butler isn't a relative and he hasn't been granted certification to hug, and he could go to jail for this, and what's wrong
Yeah. That's now happening in real life.
Here's something about elementary school-aged kids: they like hugs. They like physical affection. They don't necessarily care if you're their parent. I volunteered at an elementary school library for a while and on several occasions, younger students (kindergarten or 1st grade) walked up and hugged me. They didn't know me and they didn't say a word, just walked up and stuck their arms out, hugged for a few minutes, and rejoined the class. The kids don't give a damn about this rule and I'm fairly sure many of them will be upset and confused about the limits on human contact.
This is happening at the same elementary school that suspended a student for making his Pop Tart gun-shaped, by the way.