Opinion: UK Bans Best Friends

Annalise Deal

Even the best of friends are wrenched apart by their scholastic masters (staged).

Jenna Fox

I’ll never forget meeting my childhood best friend on the first day of kindergarten. We sat on the same bench waiting for our parents to pick us up after school.  We were the only girls left, sporting our matching plaid uniforms and Pippi Longstocking pigtails. We sat an awkwardly safe distance of six feet apart, not talking to anyone (boys had cooties, of course). Unexpectedly, she pulls out her coloring book and asks me to help her color her favorite princess. I gladly accepted the invitation, and we’ve been friends ever since. Adorable, right?

We all have our childhood best friends. The attached-at-the-hip, inseparable, we-can’t-live-without-each-other, kind of friend. For some, these friendships have stayed strong through thick and thin. For others, time, distance, or disagreements stood in the way. In either case, try to imagine your childhood without this accomplice. Everything seems to change.

Select schools throughout the U.K. have decided to ban children from making best friends. This effort attempts to curb bullying and protect children from the pain of losing a friend. Instead, schools are encouraging children to interact as a group.

According to The Sun, educational psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni said, “They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But it is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they’re learning to deal with it.”

There seems to be an ever-growing theme in schools to protect kids from any kind of pain. However, nurturing children in a bubble is merely shielding them from reality.

Therefore, few are in agreement with this new rule. The most obvious concern is the manner in which this rule is going to be enforced; it would be nearly impossible to implement, especially outside of school.

In addition, a New Jersey Middle School recently banned hugging.

CBS wrote that the school’s principal announced, “hugging can be inappropriate and we want to make sure that there’s no inappropriate physical contact.  We certainly do not have a policy against hugging nor do we intend to or have we suspended students for hugging.” The school wants the students to stay focused on academics and save the public displays of affection for home.

I am in accord with the majority as I believe that this rule is unnecessary. While I do recognize that learning to interact in a group setting is very important, it is also crucial to learn how to work and communicate with others one-on-one. There are more effective ways to teach children how to work with others than to deprive them of their comfort. Whether best friends or bear hugs, schools should let kids enjoy being kids.

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12 Responses to “Opinion: UK Bans Best Friends”

  1. Zoe Pacalin on April 17th, 2012 5:43 pm

    agreed these rules are absolutely ridiculous!

  2. Alison Myoraku on April 17th, 2012 7:37 pm

    This photo is truly priceless. Also, I agree, this rule is insane. I feel like it’s illegal for a school to infringe on private matters like friendship, unless the relationship is dangerous or something…

  3. Madeline Dutton-Gillett on April 17th, 2012 9:37 pm

    Great article and the photo is amazing! At my old school (K-8)once you got into middle school you weren’t allowed to hug anyone of the opposite sex, you also weren’t aloud to hold hands. They basically said that anything other than a high five with someone of the opposite sex wasn’t allowed. That was ridiculous and so is this whole “no best friends” thing…

  4. Ross Dairiki on April 18th, 2012 10:56 pm

    I can’t believe they are doing this! Everyone should have the right to have a best friend, no matter what sex they are or anything! Great job Jenna

  5. Melissa Gaherty on April 19th, 2012 2:29 pm

    Love this picture!

  6. Maya on April 19th, 2012 6:46 pm

    A very interesting article and an amazing photograph!

  7. Risa Hammel on April 20th, 2012 8:31 am

    I can’t imagine growing up when I was younger without my best friend.. I don’t think this is going to be extremely effective, because of the difficulty it requires to regulate.

  8. David Schmitt on April 20th, 2012 7:46 pm

    Great photo, Nicky and Michael really capture the plight of star-crossed friends

  9. Aditya Sinha on April 20th, 2012 8:22 pm

    I hate best friends.

  10. kwoods on April 20th, 2012 11:32 pm

    this is pretty absurd. but i love the picture!

  11. Paul Iwashita on April 21st, 2012 10:32 pm

    best friends suck.

  12. Katie Gaherty on December 4th, 2012 5:05 pm

    This is ridiculous. I believe that the drama should not be such a big problem, but preventing people from becoming close friends is wrong.