PDA Among High School Students

Public display of affection (PDA) is common among most teenagers. PDA mostly includes touching, kissing, cuddling, hand holding, etc. between students in public spaces or at public events. 

 In high school, it is hard to miss the students participating in PDA while walking around campus. The student’s behavior can be innocent, but their actions can quickly turn into a distraction for them and for the other students that are trying to listen and engage in their learning. As public displays of affection in high school become more prominent, passing periods and classes could become awkward for students and staff nearby.

Throughout America, PDA seems almost impossible to control. An article by Derrick Meador explains how to handle the situation stating, “Unless the school or school districts set specific policies for forbidding PDA, they cannot expect students to simply know the practice is forbidden or at least discouraged.” The article explains how setting a clear policy is the only way to minimize public displays of affection. The students cannot be expected to follow a rule that they don’t know is in place. Schools must educate the students on the issue.

Around Prairie High School the students have different opinions on where they draw the line when it comes to PDA. 4% of 50 random students around campus said they draw the line at hugging, 12% at cuddling, 14% at holding hands, 22% at kissing, and 48% at making out. Overall, it seems like students are okay with the occasional handhold and hug, but anything more is a stretch. 

Nikki Benjamin, a senior at Prairie explains how she feels about the topic, “I think that it’s awesome that they’re in a relationship, but don’t do too much because not everybody needs to see it.” Most of the students find the public displays of affection “Uncomfortable” as Isabelle Macy, a senior at Prairie would say. 

From the staff’s perspective, it pretty much seems to match up with the students as well. Ms. Bump is a teacher at Prairie High School. When asked where she drew the line when it comes to public displays of affection she said, “Holding hands and maybe a quick kiss before class goodbye, is about where we should draw the line.” she went on to say, “This may not be popular, but I think you need to have more respect for yourself because people are going to look at you in maybe not the most positive light if you are exhibiting the PDA, and the whole idea of the respect for your partner and yourself of ‘keep things private’.” Mr. Pedlar, a culinary teacher at Prairie seems to agree, “We don’t want to see it, we’re happy that you care about each other, but we don’t want to see it.” 

It is popular to believe that PDA makes passers-by uncomfortable, throughout Prairie as well as around the United States. But the only way to minimize the problem would be to set a clear policy for the students.