Puritanical patriarchy run rampant. By sexualizing innocent affection between friends & fellow students, we are creating self-conscious hypocrites trained to suppress their feelings. And in this case, damaging a student's academic career. I'm appalled. https://t.co/An0yScjBep— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) December 17, 2017
After being suspended indefinitely for hugging at school in August, at least one of the two 16-year-olds involved took the school to court.
Unfortunately, the High Court has now decided in favor of the school, giving the institution the power to dictate whether the students even have the right to finish their exams so they can continue with their education.
This bizarre incident happened in Kerala, India. The two teens allegedly hugged for much "too long" in front of other students, prompting St. Thomas Central school officials to suspend the male student five months ago. As a result, the boy may now even miss his board exams.
In order to fight the school’s decision, his parents took the case to court, and a state child rights panel sided with the parents, ordering the school to let him finish his final year.
Promptly after the ruling, the school counter-challenged the panel’s decision, claiming that officials had no say in this matter.
That’s when the High Court stepped in, giving the school the final say.
After all, the High Court added, only the school can “maintain and sustain [its] standard and reputation.”
Needless to say, the student isn’t happy with the final outcome, maintaining that there was nothing odd about the hug.
“Who was timing (the hug)? I apologized repeatedly, but the school didn't listen,” he said.
School official Rajan Varghese disagreed, saying that the “hug took place in front of a large number of students. If it was congratulatory, he should have stopped immediately. But behind the hug was bad intention.”
The court even used photos on the boy's Instagram account to claim that his hug was malicious.
On social media, many users condemned the school over its decision.
For a friendly hug, Kerala St Thomas Central School expels boy & girl, calls teen boy a 'bull in heat', expels him: HC agrees. Appalling! It's such schools & courts that foster misogyny, gender violence, deter a healthy relationship between sexes https://t.co/fMfq1YBPQu— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) December 18, 2017
Unbelievable! While school's action was ridiculous / OTP, HC's ruling is far worse. Might as well bequeath the planet to robots!— Ramana (@CRamanaKumar) December 19, 2017
Wonder if all the teachers now have to carry stopwatches around while moral policing.— Srujan (@Srujan_g) December 19, 2017
After the commotion this case caused, the school finally reached out to the student and his parents, asking them to appear on Jan. 3 for a meeting after having taken a second look at this issue.
Hopefully, the students will no longer face scrutiny for simply hugging and will be allowed to continue with their educations. It would be absurd to see a couple of young kids lose their opportunities because of an innocent exchange of affection.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Flickr user Dave Kleinschmidt