Be warned children: In Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School hugging is banned. Friendly interactions? Forget it. Expressions of love? No way. Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch? Right out. One suspects that even Tickle Me Elmo is verboten. Beatles tunes like All You Need is Love? Detentions all around. No love, no how says school officials.

CBS News New York reports that kids were telling parents that the school had put into effect the new no-hugs rule.

The controversy started with a loudspeaker address made by the school’s principal one morning earlier this week. Kids felt they were told that hugging is banned.

But as the week wore on parents got a robocall from the school saying they had no instituted such a ban.

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.

It is more likely that the kids are right and the robocall was a walk back by the school administration. But even if the kids simply didn’t understand the principal’s announcement — or perhaps that the principal was not sufficiently clear with his rhetoric — the fact that there was any discussion at all about hugging in school is an absurdity.

This is yet one more example of two problems in America. The first is the regrettable propensity of schools to institute rules that eliminate any responsibility for officials and teachers to have to make any adult decisions. It makes of administrators and teachers little else but automatons that take no responsibility for their charges and shows kids that all adults need to do to avoid acting like adults is to “make a rule.”

But this abhorrent propensity we see in schools was not born from primordial ooze and come into the world fully formed. It is a result of parent’s failures to hold their kids accountable. These idiotic rules in our schools are often a response to parents running up to the school and yelling “not MY kid” every time a punishment is meted out to their little angels.

This disgusting action by parents has put schools in an untenable position and that coupled with the similarly regrettable propensity toward suing everyone and we end up with stupidity like hugs being banned and zero tolerance rules.

Much as I blame our schools for helping destroy this country, this particular issue is not all their fault.

As Sgt. Hulka told Private Soyer, “lighten up, Francis.”