Photo by Liz Blodgett
Story originally published in the January 2020 edition of The Paw, our quarterly magazine.
It’s a common occurrence, a student is walking down the hall in a rush to class when suddenly they are face to face with one of Tigard’s couples aggressively making out. A situation with few options, do they say something? Do they ignore it? Do they get an administrator? The answers are unclear, but the universal opinion is generally the same: it is gross.
Senior Penelope Kim has strong opinions on the subject of PDA.
“I feel disgusted to be witnessing these vulgar acts, and I wish they would save it for a private space,” Kim said.
Kim, often bombarded with the same couple “violently making out with lots of body movement,” has decided to take a stand.
Following one of her classes she politely asked the love birds to stop disrupting the vibe of the hallway with their PDA. Instead of stopping, the couple continued to “make out even more passionately while staring me straight in the eye,” Kim recalled. This whole situation has been quite traumatizing for Kim as she states they had no regard for the wishes of their fellow students.
From Kim’s story it becomes evident that PDA is much more than just the act publicly displaying one’s love. It becomes an issue of disregarding the feelings of other people.
The TTSD Students Rights and Responsibilities handbook explicitly states that students have the responsibility to “refrain from public displays of private affection” and “to express affection for friends and staff in an appropriate manner.” So what constitutes as private affection and appro- priate in a school setting?
Principal Brian Bailey gives a few examples of inappropriate behavior.
“Couples sitting on each others laps in the hallway for longer than a few seconds and long kisses–nobody got time for that at school,” Bailey stated.
He goes on to add that he has no issue with hand holding or a quick hug in parting.
What the issue of PDA mainly comes down to for Bailey is that it disrupts the positive learning environment for everyone else around those who engage in these activities.
Similarly, Junior Rowan Kelleher regards private affection as something you would only be comfortable doing with a significant other. This includes “kissing, sexual touching, and anything romantic,” Kelleher states.
He believes that PDA has no place in a school setting and that it is extremely un- comfortable for bystanders. He goes on to explain that this discomfort is horrible for a school since education relies on a sense of comfort.
Kelleher also believes that PDA may put couples in social isolation as other students view those who commit acts of PDA in a negative light. This creates more division between groups which can impact education, mental health, and the overall wellbeing of those who regularly engage in PDA.
Supporting this idea is physics teacher Kyle Mueller.
“I just think it’s awkward. I typically just keep on walking and don’t look that direction,” Mueller said.
Right outside of Mueller’s classroom in the lower science hall is an infamous PDA pocket. He states that the general feeling he receives when looking out his class- room and into the affectionate couples is quite uncomfortable.
Moving on from here, the solution is unclear. But, Mueller leaves us all with a thoughtful plea.
“Please save it for when you’re in private.”