Massachusetts preschool bans kids from using term 'best friend'

GEORGETOWN, Mass. -- Students attending one preschool in Massachusetts are not allowed to call each other "best friends."

Little Julia attends Pentucket Workshop Preschool in Georgetown.

Like many 4-year-olds, she loves her dolls, arts, and crafts and she has a best friend.

"She said you know so-and-so, you're my best buddy," Julia's mother, Christine Hartwell, told WBZ-TV. "The teacher told her that she couldn't say that there in school."

"Best friend" is not a term Julia can use at Pentucket Workshop Preschool.

"I think it's ridiculous," Hartwell said. "Children who are 4 years old speak from their heart, so they should be able to call kids anything loving - you're my best friend, you're my best pal."

The school explained to Hartwell that "the term best friend can lead other children to feel excluded," and it can "ultimately lead to the formation of cliques and outsiders," and the school encourages "students to have a wider group of friends."

"Although I think that words are really important and the term 'best' does have an implied meaning to it, I don't know if the right answer is necessarily denying children the ability to use that term," said Dr. Gregory Young, a pediatric psychologist.

Hartwell says Julia still says "best friend" at home, but her daughter seems unsure if the term is appropriate since she was told not to use it at school

WBZ-TV contributed to this report.
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