Posted by Mindi Scott on Tuesday, July 12, 2011
From third through twelfth grade, I went to private schools where, I imagine, some of the rules were a little bit different from many other schools.
One of the rules that became a big deal during my high school years was in regards to displays of affection: couples were not supposed to have physical contact at all, and do so in front of others could result in social restriction, which we called "Social."
Being on Social meant that the two people involved would not be allowed to talk to or be around one another for a given amount of time. (They could, however, write letters.) I think the most common length of Social was two weeks. If a couple broke the rules and were caught together during that time, their punishment would be extended.
Most of the teachers and staff didn't set out to be the Social police (although some truly did), but knowing that there was a risk of punishment made it so that very few students ever flaunted this rule. We couldn't kiss at school (obviously!). We couldn't walk through the halls with our arms around one another. We couldn't hold hands. Hugging one's friends was usually okay, but hugging one's boyfriend or girlfriend could be kind of risky. (My boyfriend and I were once caught in what a teacher described as an "intimate embrace." We didn't get put on Social, but we were officially warned by our principal that that was the next step if we were caught again.)
This didn't mean that the students at my school weren't kissing and all that stuff. It just meant that those of us who didn't live in the dorms did it off campus. Those who did live in the dorms had to be very sneaky indeed.
I remember that during those years, television shows taking place in high school settings (like My So-Called Life) were jarring to me. It was hard for me to believe that teens at other schools could display affection whenever they wanted without fear of punishment. I really hated that the simple act of holding my boyfriend's hand could mean not being allowed to be around him for weeks.
Tell me about your school! Are/were there rules about public displays of affection? How did you feel about it?