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Students forced to hold hands as punishment

Mesa, Ariz. (CNN) — Two Arizona high school students were forced to hold hands in front of their classmates as punishment this week for fighting.

Now that punishment is drawing criticism.

The students at Westwood High in Mesa, Ariz. were apparently given the option to hold hands instead of being suspended.

“Kids were laughing at them and calling them names asking, ‘Are you gay?'” said student Brittney Smyers, who saw the punishment play out at the school earlier this week.

“It was funny,” said student Mickey Shull. “I’ve been in ROTC and it’s no different than some of the stuff you have to do there. It works.”

Most students at the school thought the punishment was better than getting suspended. They acknowledged it was humiliating, but thought it would teach them a lesson.

A picture of the teenagers hiding their faces was posted to Facebook where several comments criticized the punishment saying it was inappropriate.

One person commented, saying it encourages bullying because the kids were targeted for taunting and name-calling.

A few others went as far as to say it sent a negative message to gay students because it portrayed hand-holding by two males to be embarrassing.

A Mesa Public School District representative issued the following statement regarding the punishment:

Mesa Public Schools is dedicated to maintaining a safe and supportive learning environment. The district has guidelines for appropriate student discipline and our site administrators have the authority to impose consequences within our policies and regulations.

The district does not condone the choice of in-school discipline given these students, regardless of their acceptance or willingness to participate. District leadership will address this matter with the school principal and review district protocol regarding student discipline with all administrators.



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Posted by on Nov 30, 2012. Filed under Breaking News, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Students forced to hold hands as punishment”

  1. There are a few ways to see this action. I won’t call this punishment, because I happen to agree with something written in the article regarding the humiliation factor of showing two guys holding hands. Sadly in the U.S. society want to say one thing and do another. I have seen in other countries, where men who are just friends, as a gesture of friendship, kiss each others cheek. Somehow a twisted ethic has many contact between people somehow perverse. This trend towards separating people MUST stop.

    I don’t hide that I love people for who they are. It is the actions of people and groups in particular, who use their collective influence to pass judgement against people, and in this case above, have the two people share a connection rather than allow whatever their issue to remain a negative one.

    Why does the mob rule of ridicule and embarrass have to be used? I don’t know. It only works if the ones being embarrassed truly feel embarrassed.

    I am more curious to know if the two who were fighting have resolved their issue and to honestly know what good, they believe holding hands can provide.
    Sister Ida @}–

  2. Fire Principal Richard

    It’s not okay to set students up to be taunted as a same sex couple, then do nothing to peer spectators who bullied them. Gay youth are already struggling and stunts such as this only add fuel to the fire. Principal Richard should be forced to sit in front of the school holding a sign stating “I made a mistake. All forms of bullying are wrong.”

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