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Students punished for 'mutual hug'

PALM BAY, Fla., Nov. 4 (UPI) -- A Florida woman said she wants her son's middle school to do away with its no-hugging policy after her son received in-school suspension for a violation.

Nancy Crescente said her son, Nick Martinez, 14, and a female friend both received in-school suspensions after the principal at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay spotted them engaging in a "mutual hug," a practice banned by the school, WKMG-TV, Orlando, reported Thursday.

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"First of all, we are a Hispanic cultural family and hugging is part of who we are," Crescente said.

Martinez said he did not know he was violating the rules.

"A lot of friends are hugging. I just happened to be the one caught doing it," he said. "Honestly, I didn't know because I didn't think hugging was a bad thing. I didn't know you could get suspended for it."

The principal said there are no plans to change the policy at the school, which is the only public school in the district to ban hugging.

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