A Massachusetts preschool has implemented a policy which forbids its students from using the term “best friend.”
A parent of a student at Pentucket Workshop Preschool is criticizing its “best friend” policy after her daughter became upset when a teacher reportedly told her she could not use the term because it could cause other students to feel excluded.
“How do you police a 4-year-old from expressing their feelings?” said Christine Hartwell, whose daughter, Julia, attends the Georgetown school, told FOX25 Boston. “It’s outrageous, it’s silly [and] it hurts.
Hartwell said regarding Julia, “When I asked her what was wrong, she said she was really sad about what her teacher did that day.”
According to Hartwell, the policy is not spelled out in the Pentucket Workshop Preschool’s handbook, but she received a letter from Pentucket’s director regarding the issue.
“It has been our experience (which spans decades) that the use of the term ‘best friend,’ even when used in a loving way, can lead other children to feel excluded […] which can ultimately lead to the formation of ‘cliques’ and ‘outsiders,'” the letter read.
The letter also noted that the preschool will continue to discourage children from using the term.
Hartwell argued that permitting children to say they have best friends makes them feel more secure in the classroom. She is removing Julia — who Hartwell said is now hesitant to use the term — from the school.
“I want her to be able to express her thoughts and feelings in a healthy way, as children should,” Hartwell said.
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