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ciounoi ciounoi is offline
 
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ciounoi
 
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Hugs!
Old 10-16-2009, 04:23 AM
 
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Soo... I was thinking about this the other day. What do I do when kids give me hugs, which they often do? I mean, I personally LOVE when kids give me hugs! They are so cute when they give me hugs and I don't get enough! However, it has been hammered into me by many people/things that this is a really sue-happy world and I should be VERY careful what I do. I'm always a little anxious when I get a hug... what if the kid's mom sues me for harrassment or something? Stranger things have happened! Thus, I give them a REALLY QUICK, hopefully never ever grounds for suing hug, and then compensate by calling everyone "honey" or "dear" (I needed a good substitute for calling every unknown kid "hey you").


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Old 10-16-2009, 04:56 AM
 
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I get hugs from the little ones: mostly K-3rd graders and I also give just a quick 'half-arm' hug around their back...almost a pat on the shoulders. I think the fact that the child initiates the hug makes the difference, at least in my thinking. If a teacher was initiating hugs with MY children, I'd start to wonder what was going on. In truth, I think it says a lot about their trust when a young child does this. They really are still babies in many ways and the comfort of a quick hug is often needed.

The first week of school I was subbing 1st grade and one tiny little guy started to cry. I knelt down next to him and he threw himself into my arms, sobbing "I want my mommy!". I realized he was burning hot with a fever. (I won't give you the details of what happened next, but it involved quickly grabbing a waste basket!) Sometimes kids need hugs and I doubt that in situations like this I'd get sued. At least I hope not!
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:08 AM
 
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wouldn't the world be a better place if we didn't need to worry about being sued for something like this?

yes, it is a slippery slope we're on...what if a parent/another adult came in and saw that? How would they interpret the situation? context is everything....yes be very very very careful....

I work in many districts one of which is a low income neighborhood...so the only place the kids get any kind of affection is at school,,,I don't give hugs but if a child came up to me I'd let them and make sure my hands are clearly seen (usually I'm touching their head)

yep, welcome to the lawsuit happy society
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:13 AM
 
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yoohoo's Message:
wouldn't the world be a better place if we didn't need to worry about being sued for something like this?

AMEN! Reminds me of the line "hugs, not drugs". You are right, though, I need to be careful. I guess I know my intentions are innocent and assume everyone knows that too. (smacking self on forehead....)
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I think a hug is ok
Old 10-16-2009, 12:05 PM
 
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Whenever I am giving a hug it is usually in the hallway or the classroom and there is always another adult or a classroom full of children present. I have never bent down to the child's level for a hug. They usually hug me around the waist and I do a one arm hug over the shoulders, more of a pat on the back. I also never initiate a hug unless a child is upset and I can tell they would be ok with me giving a hug.

Use your best judgement, always make sure the classroom door is open, someone is around and you make it a quick hug. I stick to these rules and *knock on wood* have not had a problem.


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Be very very careful
Old 10-16-2009, 02:18 PM
 
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Be very very careful about this practice. The best thing to do is avoid hugs at all costs. Even pushing children away or positioning yourself so that it makes it difficult for them to hug you. You never know who is watching. If you choose to ignore this advice, then it could come back to bite you in the you-know-where.
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I am a...
Old 10-17-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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a classroom teacher and this year I have 5th graders that were my very first group of kids when they were 1st graders. The first day of school when they saw me I had the biggest group hug in the world. The ones who I had not had previously even joined in. That same day one of my girls hugged me on the way out. I did not hesitate to hug back. She was the first out the door and the rest did the same, even my toughest boy. Everyone needs a hug, for my kids this lets them know that even if they had a rough day I still love them and will always forgive them. As a pp stated sometimes school is the only place where they get this love and attention. As long as the student initiates the hug and there are others around and you make quick I think you will be okay.

As a side note, I always hugged back when I was a substitute.
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Oh boy,
Old 10-18-2009, 04:50 AM
 
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I know I'm going to get slammed for this, but I teach at the HS and MS level only, and I still get hugs from students with whom I've made a connection. In Most cases, I've known the student since they were 5 years old, but especially in special education, when I've been working with a student one on one all day long and I see them the next time, I get a hug.

I never initiate the hug, but yes, I hug back.

And yes, I know I should be careful. But I'd hate to live in a world where I can't receive/give a hug to someone who might especially need one that day. So I don't.

And if this practice turns around and bites me in the you know what, then you'll probably be hearing about it here!

Slam away......
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:27 AM
 
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Some of you are just asking for trouble. Especially for those of you who are certified teachers, I can't believe your college education courses didn't address this.
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:19 AM
 
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When I realize I am about to be ambushed with a hug, I turn to make it a "side huh" as I pat them on the back and say in a kindly, jovial way: 'hugs are for home' "oh, you're so kind" "thank you so much" , so I'm "redirecting" the student, accepting the affection (sort of) and hopefully teaching appropriate school demonstrations of fondness. I think it would be obvious to anyone observing that I don't initiate hugs or welcome them... or more particularly don't "need" them. i.e. I am not filling any need of my own. If you 'don't get enough' as ciounoi said, sub teaching is not the place to fill that deficit. You would be asking for trouble which would probably come promptly. It's unfortunate that all adults in childrens' lives cannot be affectionate and shower them with hugs and kisses and love, but that is our culture, and a few sickos have ruined it for everyone. Men also cannot talk in public to children they do not know that they run into in the library or the grocery store or where ever. That's just modern life. Substitute teachers who are already in a very vulnerable position would do well to comply with this reality.


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Old 10-18-2009, 07:23 AM
 
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I accept hugs that are initiated by the students. I see nothing wrong with that.
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kjuda kjuda is offline
 
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:43 AM
 
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I understand what Eric is saying, but with 30 years as a licensed/certified teaching career under my belt, and a longstanding good reputation I have only one comment: (grin) let anyone question my returning a hug. But, Eric, I think your comments are especially important for everyone. We DO need to be careful and we all need to be mindful of our actions and our intentions.
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:31 AM
 
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I do understand why we need to be careful. One would think that with all of the background checks and paperwork that we have to go through, there would be no sickos, no perverts get into the school systems. But it happens and a lot more than we would like. So, I do understand why we have to be careful.

I look at a hug as to say "thank you" affectionately. It makes me feel good to get a hug especially when there has been a bad day.
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:01 AM
 
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If a young child initiates a hug, I am not going to push them away. I give them a couple quick pats on the back and move along. It's hard to imagine a lawsuit being filed over one quick hug that a child initiates in a classroom setting. If we worried about a lawsuit over every little thing we do we'd probably never make a move, lol.

There was this young lady in 8th grade with whom I'd worked as a Substitute Special Ed Para maybe 5 or 6 different days. I'd heard she was a foster child, and she was usually very surly, especially in the beginning. I saw her at the pool in town that summer and she said, "Oh my gosh!" and hugged me. You could have knocked me over with a feather; I never would have expected that reaction. I briefly patted her on the back, and asked her how she'd been. At that point she moved along pretty quickly but I would have never pushed her away.
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:56 AM
 
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I'll repeat what I said before. Some of you are just asking for trouble. Yes, lawsuits can and DO happen over the simple little "side hugs" that some of you are referring to. And remember that most subs do not have any union protection. It also happens to 30-year veterans. Remember... it only takes one time. The next time you allow a "side hug", it could be that time for you. Be very, very careful. You have been warned.
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:27 AM
 
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Okay, you have me convinced...or at least worried! I will be very cautious and plan to bring this up to the principals (and maybe even the superintendent's office) this week. I certainly don't want to deal with a lawsuit, but it is very sad, to me, that we must be so careful. (But that is probably because I know my intentions are honorable, but acknowledge that not everyone's are) Thank you for your sincere warnings about this. I'm not too old to learn a few new tricks...yet!
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ciounoi ciounoi is offline
 
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:06 PM
 
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haha, oops, I'm going to start marking my sarcasm/jokes! I'm not using subbing as a place to get affection, just making a remark that we all need extra love. Haha, that might have looked bad...
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You gotta be careful...
Old 10-18-2009, 11:36 PM
 
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The first time you hear the words: "I can get you fired!" from some kid in retaliation for some perceived injustice on your part, you should realize that he/she probably CAN make life very difficult if the kid is a skillful liar!

As a sub you don't have union representation and no legal benefits to a district paid lawyer to fight a bogus accusation. It can get real ugly, real fast.

The school/district will cut it's losses and simply fire you and tell the parents of the kid that they've "taken the appropriate steps" in the situation. After that it's all on you to to pay for legal representation to fight this kind of thing in court.

If you don't think it can't happen, just google "Julie Amero" for just what CAN happen no matter how innocent you actually are.
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:35 AM
 
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Yes, some people on this board need to wake up, and start doing less hugging and more watching their your-know-what.
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stizzle stizzle is offline
 
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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I realize that this is a somewhat serious topic, but some of you guys need to relax a little with your responses.

I'm not coldly shoving a 6 year old away from me out of fear of a lawsuit. Do you think that they can even understand that? I mean, "I love that you are being nice but Miss H can't be sued, sweetie. Please don't touch me."

That's just insane.

I mean, I'm not going to go around with my arms spread waiting for children to come smother me with affection, but I'm also not going to pry a child off of me if they decide that they want to hug me goodbye at the end of the day.

I also stay standing and keep my hands either on their head or a shoulder, I'm not giving these kids bear hugs or anything, but come on.

Call me naive, but I can't live my life in constant fear that I'm going to get sued. People can sue over anything they want. How can you possibly avoid doing something that could get you sued when people sue companies for making hot coffee "too hot"?
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:02 PM
 
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I don't give hugs, and I don't take hugs! If a student tries to do so, I stop them and give them a high-five, or even fist bump. I did have a student last week hug me; I was sitting down at the teacher's desk and he came up from the back. My response to him was get your hands off or "I will send you to the office." I feel bad for the student, but I don't want to be liable for anything!
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:01 PM
 
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Stizzle -- I agree with your response.

As for pushing a child away when they hug you, as someone suggested, the child is not going to be expecting that, so they could stumble and fall backwards, possibly hurting themselves. That seems to be just as likely a cause for a lawsuit.

I don't think it's a good idea to initiate a hug, but if a young child gives you a brief hug, and you accept it briefly, I don't think it's a huge cause for alarm.
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