The principal of a Australian school has defended her ban on physical contact - claiming it is to reduce student injuries - but parents have been left 'dumbfounded' by the initiative.
Mt Martha Primary School's new no-touch policy, which stops kids from playing tiggy and hugging, has been blasted by parents as 'ridiculous' and 'crazy'.
But under fire principal Judy Beckworth said the ban on physical contact between students was not a policy, but a 'practice adopted in the short-term as a no-games week', following a number of injuries in the school yard.
"It's a practice that we've adopted and put in place to raise the awareness that it's unacceptable playing roughly in the playground," she told Fairfax radio.
"It was put to them when they asked questions to clarify that if it involved contact, then it's best not to do it."
She has denied parents' claims that high-fives have been banned, and said she will be talking to her staff to clarify the rules.
She said children had suffered a number of injuries in recent weeks, including a broken wrist, collarbone and concussion, as a result of dangerous play in the school yard.
"With the injuries that these kids have sustained, it's totally unacceptable for me not to do anything about it," she explained.
"It's not OK for these injuries to be happening, and we're really serious about their safety.
"I don't believe it's taking it too far...it's not an over-reaction."
Grade six students so mad with the unprecedented contact ban staged a lunchtime 'sit-in' protest on the school oval, which was reportedly followed by a telling off from teachers.
"We thought it was silly that we weren't allowed to high-five or shake hands, or anything like that," a pupil told Seven News.
It is understood parents will also oppose the new rule with an organised 'hug-in'.
One parent Deborah Catley, who has a child in grade three, told Seven News parents are 'dumbfounded' by the ban.
"They can't play tiggy. They can't touch. Even if one of them has an accident, or falls over, they can't put their arm around them, hug them and say 'are you OK'?"
"It's just got ridiculous. Children play and accidents happen sometimes. It's gone beyond a joke."
She said parents were not notified about the new rule before it was imposed.
Ms Beckworth said parents would be informed of the new rule through the next school newsletter.
The Education Minister has called for common sense.The three-week ban will end Monday morning.
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