And You Think Cleveland Schools Have Problems: A Hugging Epidemic in Chicago

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If Cleveland schools think they’ve got it bad with gang violence and all, just look at Percy Julian Middle School in suburban Chicago. They’ve got a hugging problem. At the end of September, Principal Victoria Sharts sent out a notice to parents that she was banning this outrageous and inappropriate public display of affection. Sharts argued that gangs of teen girls were hugging in the hallways and causing students to be late to class. “Hugging is really more appropriate for airports or for family reunions than passing and seeing each other every few minutes in the halls,” Sharts said in her note. She also complained that some hugs were too long and too close. She would not comment on her plans to ban smiling and waving. Sharts should be happy to know that here in Cleveland we’re setting a serious example for hug addicted suburbanites. As of the beginning of the school year, Eugene Saunders has found no signs of a hugging epidemic, though the district has seen at least four gang-related fights in less than two weeks. Even before school got started, a gang attacked John Adams High School football players as they practiced at Dove Field. While bullets flew, we are happy to report that there was no hugging. Then, just over a week later, gang members at East Clark Elementary battled it out in the hallways over their respective turfs. Though their embraces may have resembled hugging, they were, in fact, just beating the crap out of each other. Concerned for the well-being of Percy students, Punch has officially invited Sharts to tour Cleveland schools, hoping to help her understand exactly how she can bring an end to hugging through gang-related violence. She has yet to reply to our invitation. – Denise Grollmus

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