Students at Figtree High School in New South Wales claim that teachers have introduced a ‘hugging ban’ at the school.

Many students and their parents were outraged about the new policy.

One parent of a Year 12 student said: “[A senior staff member] stood up at assembly and basically announced hugging was now banned and students would be given detention,” she said.

“If they can ban hugging, what are they going to do next – ban smiling?”

She also said that there had been no explanation as to why the ban had been introduced.

Another mother said: “It’s rubbish, I don’t believe it’s right.”

The Education Department at the school, however, rejected the claims yesterday, and a spokeswoman said that hugging barely had been mentioned during the school assembly.

‘[A senior staff member] at the assembly talked about inappropriate touching of others – such as horseplay, pretend fighting, flicking and bumping – and gave a number of examples, including one about students hugging in the hallways and therefore blocking the path of other students returning to classes,” she said.

Students from Figtree High School have, however, disputed the events described by the Education Department and some pupils took their anger online at the website of local newspaper Illawarra Mercury.

According to the newspaper a student wrote: “I’m a student in Year 10 at Figtree High School and I would just like to say that during the assembly it was clearly stated and I quote ‘if you touch, kiss or hug anyone, you will be sent to the deputy’s office and sent home’.”

A Facebook page called “im gonna hug you so tight tomorrow when i see you LOL JK i go to figtree high and it’s banned” has now been set up by frustrated pupils, and has got close to 200 people giving it the “thumbs up”.

Come on teachers, where’s the love?