Introduction: Public Displays of Affection should not be tolerated
Imagine yourself, walking down the hallways of your old high school. The buzzing of your peers whizzing past you, the distant squeaking of tennis shoes on the gym floor, the faint aroma of cafeteria food… Then suddenly you see it. Smack dab next to your locker a couple is lip locked. You try not to stare but you can’t tear your face away. You force your eyes to veer in a different direction but they keep locked in place. Your stomach turns, you want to throw up a little, and you feel like your violating someone’s privacy, BUT YOUR FORCED TO KEEP STARING!
You have become a victim of PDA or Public Displays of Affection and it is not acceptable. I know, I know, everyone likes to be a little lovey-dovey once in a while, but there is a time and place for everything and school is just not one of those times or places.
We have all been victims of PDA at one point in our lives. As the student whose locker was sandwiched between the Mrs. McLipsucker and Mr. Gropey Hands I feel that high schools should have stricter policies when it comes to banishing PDA.
It is vital to define a few guidelines regarding appropriate forms of PDA and what constitutes as a red flag touch within the hallways of high schools. Then, we shall examine ways to diminish this gag-reflex stimulating behavior from school grounds. Lastly, we will look at how we as students can prevent ourselves from being victims of PDA.
Body: High Schools should have stricter policies regarding Public Displays of Affection
Before even diving into the heart and soul of this topic I would like to establish a narrower scope when discussing PDA. By avoiding all issues of religious believes, sexual orientation, or statistics about how holding hands increases teen pregnancies we can focus on the one true concern: PDA make people feel uncomfortable.
But what constitutes as PDA? This is a question that school board members, teachers, administration, and teen have been struggling to define. StateMaster Encyclopedia defines Public Displays of Affection as “The physical demonstration of affection for another person while in the view of others.”
When described in that sense almost anything constitutes as PDA. I am not arguing that schools should g to extreme lengths and ban all contact from others. In fact, some schools have taken this approach and have seen negative repercussions. Stella Chavez for the Dallas Morning News published an article in 2007 about the public out lash that was caused when the school banned any physical contact, even high-fives.
Now, I don’t believe that high-fives count as inappropriate behavior. Just to be clear let’s define what is acceptable within the walls of a high school. Muni Manners: A Guide to Etiquette published in 2007 says “You can be attracted to each other, just not so much to attract attention.” Let’s check out a Youtube video created by Chamblee High School in Georgia in 2009. They addressed PDA in a public service to inform their peers what forms of PDA were allowed. I wouldn’t be upset with people holding hands, hugging, even a quick peck to say hello or goodbye, those are all acceptable. But, anything that involves swapping spit, making out, groping, snogging, smooching, nuzzling, or sucking face is not acceptable. Let’s just say if boys are blue and girls are red, I don’t want to see any purple.
Now, what should be done to prevent this gut retching activity from happening in schools? I don’t think it is necessary to hull these lovey-dovey couples off to the gallows just for over showing their love, but really something needs to be done against multiple smooch offenders.
For a first time offence a verbal warning should be stated. Any phrase will work as long as it draws attention and exclaims how it makes you feel uncomfortable. In the article Right on the Left Coast: Views from a Conservative Teacher in 2007, high school educators comment on the effectiveness of calling students out for PDA. Some suggestions include: The gym coach approach “Hey knock it off!” The classic “Get a room” or the best friend who’s always the third wheel saying “Why don’t you name the baby after me?”
If the inappropriate behavior continues I think that schools should take a more drastic measure. After all, Mrs. McLipsucker and Mr. Gropyhands are disrupting a public learning environment.
If addressing the couple and explaining why their actions are not appreciated at school than the big guns should be drawn: Notifying the parents. Schools should not hesitate to notify the parents of these teen-boppers. I feel like this would really help cut down on PDA because honestly no one wants to discuss making out with their parents.
If these tactics don’t work schools could adapt creative approaches such as Officer Franco’s approach. He is a school based officer who was quoted in a PDA research brief conducted by The Principles’ Partnership in 2007,he said that anytime he caught two students in the act he would bellow love songs to single them out. This method proved to be very effective.
If schools just took a stand against PDA and enforced a stricter policy, whether it be verbal warnings, calling their parents, or even embarrassment, than students could concentrate on learning instead of being distracted by children making out in the halls.
But, as students it is important to realize that we are not powerless. We can prevent ourselves from being victims of if we take a stand against make out bandits. So next time you see Mrs. McLipsucker and Mr. Gropyhands in a fierce tonsils hockey match I urge you do something about it instead of watching in horror. Make sure that the couple knows that it makes you feel uncomfortable and that you do not find their behavior appropriate. And similarly, if you are a contributor to these crimes against humanity, please stop. It is not tasteful, and you are not considering other people’s feelings.
Now that you understand what is acceptable (holding hands, quick kiss, or hugs) and is not acceptable (anything besides that), I hope that you join me in the fight against PDA. Schools need to enforce a stricter policy when it comes to Public Displays of Affection. By simply drawing attention to the issue, calling parents, or even embarrassing love birds, schools can cut down the amount of spit swapped and foster a healthier learning environment. But remember, the core of the problem is in our hands. By not exercising PDA there will not be PDA. So next time you see Mrs. McLipsucker and Mr. Gropyhands tell them: PDA ain’t O.K.!