Imagine the situation: You’re on your way to class, the halls are crowded and you have to speed walk to make it on time. However, just as you turn a corner you find your path blocked…by a couple, a couple displaying excessive amounts of public affection. You often wonder in these situations if there are rules regarding PDA at Prairie High School. The answer is no.
PDA in the halls at Prairie is something that is noticed quite frequently. In a survey sent out to a random sample of 35 Prairie students, 100% of those students said that they notice PDA in the halls. The term PDA references any public display of affection, like holding hands or hugging. Both of which are okay, anything more than that and the situation becomes a tad more controversial.
Generally students seem fine with more innocent forms of PDA, though many commented that students should not be getting any more physical than a hug. For example, Kenzee Albert (11) commented, “Hand holding and quick hugs are nice but past that… get a room.”
Also, Eian Gatewood (10) and Ryan Hansen (10) stated, “Concerning PDA: Anything that can be described as ‘cute’ is okay. Anything that can be described as ‘mating’ is not okay.”
However, Audrey Wheeler (11) pointed out, “I think showing affection towards someone you care about is important and special. For some of these kids, they may not be able to hang out anywhere other than school, or be connected in such ways outside of school.”
While it is a good point, inappropriate amounts of PDA tend to make many other students uncomfortable and it can block up the hallways – which is problematic.
It’s very clear that many students are uncomfortable with other students being inappropriate, 82.9% of students said that there should be restrictions for PDA within the school. Yet, there are no rules regarding this type of behavior in the student handbook.
Associate Principal, Ryan Fritz commented on the staff’s acknowledgement of PDA and of why it isn’t an actual rule at Prairie. When asked if PDA is noticed by staff members, Fritz stated, “It’s a concern. I would say notice is maybe a strong word. I think there are other behaviors that are noticed more. It is something that’s brought up occasionally, but not in the same realm as some other behaviors.”
As for why there are no rules regarding PDA, Fritz said, “Philosophically I think if we start going down the road where we make a rule for everything, that can be very overbearing.”
So to avoid the strictness of a rule, Prairie focuses more on the expectations of the students in the hallways. That’s why there are the posters around the school stating the expectations for an easy flow of traffic for the student body. Fritz mentioned, “I say that if PDA is happening, it’s going to restrict movement of the student body. So we inadvertently have those in there but we choose to look at it from an expectation realm rather than necessarily than a rule that needs to be followed.”
So, PDA is not explicitly “against the rules” but as it generally causes disruption to traffic flow, it is looked down upon. 71.1% of students also said that PDA can interfere with the traffic. Overall, students should probably stick to more appropriate, non-traffic interrupting forms of PDA.
Title Credit: Lydia Walter