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On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: enemies of romance

There's more to school life than exams. This is a special period for adolescents; a time for learning valuable life lessons that will stand them in good stead for years to come. In theory, anyway.

But no aspect of teenage life is more all-consuming than the first forays into the world of relationships. Once the average teen has embarked on romance - eyes meeting across a crowded classroom, nervously holding clammy hands on the walk home, the awkward fumble behind the bike sheds - their teacher faces an uphill struggle to get them to focus on such weighty matters as quadratic equations.

Several Chinese schools, concerned that raging hormones could affect academic performance, are cracking down on wandering minds and hands. One school in Hangzhou has announced that students must stay at least half a metre away from classmates of the opposite sex at all times. Another has banned "close interaction" between students.

Not surprisingly, many people have hit out on social media at the "barbaric and oppressive" rules. The China Youth Daily newspaper branded the measures "absurd, ridiculous and illegal".

Here at TES Towers, we're inclined to agree. What's the point in racking up top marks if your friends can't mock you over your embarrassing teenage love affairs? Teen romance deniers, to the naughty step with you.

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