Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. - Administrators have been cracking down on what they see as a serious problem among students at Merrill Middle School in Des Moines Iowa. Students have been hugging each other on school grounds, which administrators say could cause "congestion and injuries". Merrill Principal Alex Hanna wants to see the practice ended and has been calling the parents of students who fail to adhere to the school's "keep-your-hands-to-yourself" policy.
Ironicaly the adminstration hung five large "Hugs, Not Drugs" banners to promote a recent anti-drug Red Ribbon Week. The crackdown was also followed by an early morning student protest outside the school. School officials say they are concerned about congestion caused by people embracing in hallways, but the actual reason for the policy is social control. Displays of physical affection are not acceptable in most schools and nearly all prisons for this reason.