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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Student In Trouble For Brazen Hugs

MASCOUTAH, Ill. - Give a hug, get detention. Megan Coulter, 13, learned this policy the hard way at Mascoutah Middle School. Coulter had to serve two detention sessions for giving her friends hugs. Her brazen acts violated the school's hard-line stance against public displays of affection.

The policy states that one incident brings a warning, the second is punished by detention and a third violation could result in in-school suspension.

Coulter had been given a warning two weeks ago at a football game after hugging a boy. Last Friday, Coulter received her first detention from Assistant Principal Randy Blakely after giving another boy a hug.

Moments later, Blakely gave her a second detention after she hugged a female friend.

"It was a simple arm-over-the-shoulder thing," Coulter told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I knew there was a policy on public displays of affection, but I didn't know you could get into trouble for something as little as a hug."

Superintendent Sam McGowen said he stands by the discipline.

"The policy is to cut down on public displays of affection," McGowen told reporters. "It's not an isolated incident. Other students have been disciplined in the past." Coulter said she plans to bring up the issue at the school district's next board meeting. Mascoutah is 30 miles east of St. Louis.

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