by Jake Lupu
As of this year, the rule on Public Display of Affection (PDA) has been changed in the ASW student handbook. Students have mixed reactions about this rule, which range from agreement to disagreement to puns.
The addition to the PDA rule is as follows: “[…] nothing more than hand holding or friendly (plutonic) embraces […]”
But for a future change to fix the typo (plutonic, instead of platonic), the rest of the rule will most likely stay the same. In an interview with Mr. Sheehan, he shared that this is the only modification to this rule in the past 5 years, and it was in an attempt to clarify the “difference between platonic and romantic displays of affection”.
Barbara R., a 10th grader, believes that “the addition [specifically of platonic] is [still] unclear, which could lead to confusion [as] different cultures have varied beliefs on [what counts as platonic or not]”.
Sofia D., an 11th grader, is also confused about this new addition. Her reasoning is that she doesn’t understand why they added it, or “what counts as a romantic embrace” and that this “unnecessarily sexualises affection between students”.
Some students are concerned about the minimal affection rule, describing having in the past been reprimanded for hugging their friend.
Another new addition is that the MS and HS Handbooks are now combined into a single, Upper School Handbook. Several sections from this new Handbook have also been used in the opening chapter of the Student and Parent Handbook, which “applies to the entire school,” Mr. Sheehan said, and was undertaken in an attempt to “to align all three divisions of our school (ES, MS, and HS) and help students and parents more clearly see us as one school — ASW — rather than three separate ones.”