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New rule on PDA brings mixed reactions

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New rule on PDA brings mixed reactions

Garrett Gage

Garrett Gage

Garrett Gage

A poster on campus reminds students of the Catch and Release rule. Ms. Spicer tweeted a photo of it to her followers.

By Garrett Gage, Leander High School

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During the first week of school, principal Tiffany Spicer unveiled “Catch and Release,” a new approach to how staff handles student Public Displays of Affection, or PDA. The policy allows students to hug each other, but only for three seconds.

“[The] purpose is to gently remind students that they are at school to learn,” Spicer said. “We are not here to have public displays of affection. We are in school where there are children, adults, parents, etc., and we don’t want to lose our focus. Last year, I saw a lot of PDA around campus and I heard feedback from students and teachers expressing their concern about seeing this. So I figured since it is a new year, let’s introduce it now so our students are reminded of their purpose and if it does happen there is a polite way to say stop.”

It’s another rule to demonstrate that they control us. They say we run the school, but they do.”

— Edwin Trejo

Since the policy was explained to students and staff, Spicer has had an overall positive response from students and teachers.

“The reaction has been rather positive,” Spicer said. “In the class meetings the students laughed at the presentation because we made it lighthearted, but I reminded them that we are serious and expect everyone to comply. We shared it with the faculty and staff during the faculty meeting and they loved the idea and clapped after the demonstration. I have seen positive comments on Twitter and a couple of people have questioned it, but overall I think we are good.”

However, there are students who’d beg to differ.

“I think it’s a useless rule no one will follow,” junior Edwin Trejo said. “It’s another rule to demonstrate that they control us. They say we run the school, but they do.”

Other students aren’t entirely against the rule.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s changed,” senior Michael Proctor said. “That’s always been the expectation. I think the three second rule is arbitrary, but other than that it’s fine.”

Some teachers have discussed the policy with their classes, and a few have implemented it in the hallways when they see PDA.

“I’m definitely in support of the rule,” Shaw said. “I think the slogan gives the teachers a non-confrontational way of doing it. That’s why I think it’s good. In general, stopping kids from making out is a good policy. It’s not the time or place for that.”

The “Catch and Release” slogan is unique to this school, but the district policy on PDA is not. On page 62 of the High School Student Handbook, Section IV states that “students are prohibited from participating in consensual hugging, touching, or other displays of affection that are inappropriate.”

“I just want everyone to understand that we are here to learn,” Spicer said. “You can have a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend, but we are not here to display affection. We are here to learn.”

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