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Jewish World Review March 30, 2001 / 6 Nissan, 5761

Anita Srikameswaran

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Consumer Reports

No more amore in high school halls -- TACOMA, Wash. -- The price of a hallway lip-lock is about to climb at a local high school.

Next month, Federal Way High School officials will start handing out tickets to amorous students engaged in "PDAs" - bureaucratic shorthand for "public displays of affection."

Cursing about it won't do any good, either; students will receive tickets for profanity, too.

School leaders say the tickets are part of a larger plan to improve school climate, especially in the crush of hallway traffic between classes.

"In our hallways we have fairly outrageous language going on, and we have these public displays of affection," said counselor Mary Weis. "A lot of this is getting ignored in the common areas, and I think that's why the students think it's kind of a free-for-all."

School officials plan to start the ticket program April 16, after they explain it to teachers and students. The tickets will replace time-consuming detention forms. Teachers will hand them out on the spot, tearing off a portion for the student and keeping a record for themselves.

Rumors among students held that fines would accompany the tickets, but the penalty is a writing assignment: Cited students have to write a paragraph explaining why their behavior was inappropriate and turn it in the day after they receive the tickets. The alternative is one hour of detention.

Knowing when to hand out a ticket will be a judgment call, Weis said. The school won't set distance requirements or exact definitions of inappropriate behavior. Hand-holding and short hugs probably won't raise eyebrows.

"The idea is you want to teach kids what socially acceptable boundaries are," said Weis, a member of the committee. "And the thing is, they know. That's why they don't do it in the classroom. They have total control."

Anita Srikameswaran writes for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Comment by clicking here.


© 2001, SHNS