How do you handle PDA on your team?

I am the team leader on a FIRST team and I was curious on your definition of PDA and at what point it gets to be inappropriate. I was also curious on how all of you enforce your rule and how you express that someone is breaking that rule(do you call them out, do you pull them to the side, etc.)? Any and all information and/or tips/advice is greatly apprectiated. Thanks

On Truck Town Thunder, our PDA rule is simple; no PDA. But this is only for times when a student is representing the team (i.e. when in uniform, at meetings, etc.). At the beginning of the year, all students sign a code of conduct. The code of conduct basically states all of the team rules. It also says that if a rule is broken, a team member faces suspension or even expulsion from the team.

If an adult spots PDA being performed, they will pull the student aside and talk to them. Now, you aren’t automatically suspended. You recieve a couple warnings. But if PDA gets out of hand, then the member is evalutated in front of the board of advisors. If the advisors decide that it’s out of hand, the team member will face suspension or even expulsion from the team.

Hope this helps you, and good luck to your new team!

Our team policy applies not just to PDA, but also talk about video games, excessive socialization, not following directions from mentors, etc. Our policy states that any students who are “off-topic” will be redirected by a mentor (usually the students’ mentor), if they remain off-topic that day we (the mentors) send the students home. They can return the next day. If the student continually gets “off-topic” at our meetings we continue to elevate our response leading to parent meetings and possible removal from the team.

For the most part, our students are on the team to compete. They perform their roles well, but for every 20 great students there is always 1 or 2 problem makers. Keep an eye on it, if it could lead to a problem my philosophy is to head it off right away. Addressing problems is often harder than preventing them.

I’m only 20, but I feel old because I thought you meant a PDA electronic device.

This seems a little…uptight. I know that even while I’m working with a student or a group, I’ll entertain the occasional tangent about football or a new video game release. As long the discussion finds its way back in about 1-3 mins, I’m okay with it.

PDA in general isn’t an issue that I face day to day. Most students are civil about these things and don’t spend the time snogging (excuse the British). However, when PDA becomes detrimental to the process, students are given one warning, and if it continues, then asked to leave to return another day. In this case, I find the direct approach is usually the best one.

  • Sunny G.

We have “House Rules” and every student signs a contract stating that they will obey these rules. PDA, among others, are on the house rules as a no no. Typically we confront at the moment of occurence if witnessed by a mentor. We work in a public mall and so we are more strict than we used to be because we want to make sure we are presenting a professional appearance to the general public and/or sponsors that could be walking by/in the space at anytime.

I have never even really thought about it. Being a school team the students are covered by the school’s 24/7 rules which covers excessive PDA amongst a host of other things.

The team members are also expected to act in a professional manner. The students at least are of above average intelligence, & they know what this means without signing a contract. Not to say there is not an occasional lapse in memory that is corrected by a gentle reminders… OK maybe not always a gentle reminder. ::ouch::

I’d have to check our team handbook for the official ruling, but we’re also in the “nothing excessive, and you are here to work” camp.

There haven’t been many “overt” romantic relationships on the team since I was on the team in 07, though. Maybe one.

We are directed by school district policy specifically that presented by the District 214 co-curricular code. It is strict and strictly enforced for a reason. Everyone on the team knows that it applies to all activities as well. Screw up in one activity and that affects any activity a student wishes to participate in. For the most part it has been a non-issue for us for many years.

Our students are covered by the school rules as well as our rules, which is ‘no excessive pda’ and we also don’t let them couple up. So when they’re going anywhere outside of B block (where our build room is), or when we’re at competition or at an event - they have to stay in no less then groups of 3. It works for us. :slight_smile:

IF it became a problem we’d pull the students aside and talk to them privately about it. It’s not something that we’d do in front of the whole team.

I’m 22, but I also had to look up PDA on urbandictionary. I originally thought if someone bought a Palm device off ebay, who cares? Anyway… Our policy may appear uptight in writing, but that is the point with written contracts. We operate with the understanding a quick conversation, comment, etc. is fine, but we have an issue when a group of students and mentors are discussing a robot related topic and it gets derailed by an off-hand comment.

We have also had cases in the past where kids would go stand off in a corner and discuss video games at length. I don’t might the occasional COD reference, but with the amount of opportunities for students to be productive and learning something when the mentors are on-site, spending that time having a discussion which could be had later is frustrating to me (and our other mentors).

Getting back to the original question of PDA, in my opinion, if you are going to be a distraction, then I think you should go home. That is why our policy exists. Whatever the distraction is, if you are preventing others from working then: a) You’re not working. b) You just had a negative impact on the whole team. This behavior would never fly in the corporate world, and so we want to teach our students how to handle it now while they are in school.

First, this is absolutely something an adult on your team should be handling. I don’t know if you’re a mentor or a student, but if you’re a student, get an adult.

Either your team or school almost certainly has an overt policy on PDA, and you should start with that. Break it up immediately, inform them of whatever specific rules exist on the matter, and let them know that they should behave like professionals if they expect to be a member of your team.

I used to have boyfriend on the team. I’m wondering what everyone defines as PDA. He occasionally held my hand at dinner and we sat together in the stands. I feel that that level was appropriate and I don’t think anyone had a problem with it.

Same, though mine is currently, and the significant other is a girlfriend. We’ll hold hands when we’re sitting in meetings or we’ll sit together when we’re in the stands and I’ll have my arm around her, but it’s never been anything too excessive while on “team time.” I think the most “PDA” we’ve ever gotten was when I asked her to Prom in front of the Oklahoma Regional attendance…

As far as how to handle it, I echo what other people suggest and handle it in a professional manner. Take them, either single or as a couple, aside and remind them of the professional expectations of the team and that if they are overly distracting other people then put them on warning.

As an interesting side note, I can’t say that our district has any exactly “written” rules about PDA that I’ve ever taken notice of…it’s more of a student body accepted standard to just not do it.

This is my team’s definition of PDA from our code of conduct:
“In order to insure a professional environment on the team, the team will not allow any forms of PDA while a team member is representing the team. Hand Holding, Kissing, and sitting with arms around each other are all examples of PDA. We intend to keep the robotics program a professional one and this will not be tolerated. NOTE: This includes when a team member is in uniform away from the team. A team member represents the team while in uniform and must conduct themselves as a professional.”

On our team, holding hands at dinner would be a no-no. But there would be no problem sitting with your significant other in the stands (as long as you don’t have arms around each other, aren’t cuddling, and aren’t sharing a blanket, etc.). Our advisor’s definition of appropriateness is “A high-five, handshake or fist-bump.”. I personally feel that what you did was appropriate, but don’t take my word for it; I’d consult your team’s rules.

We draw the line when our students are more affectionate towards the tools rather than eachother.

I’m just going to add that our rules differ somewhat from last year; we now allow dating between team members as long as it stays appropriate. If an issue arises, there is usually a bullet at our next full team discussion about a “trend” occurring so that it hopefully doesn’t happen again. I can’t speak to what happens immediately in individual cases.

Oh screwdriver, you understand me so well.

Chrome plated, ball-end, 5/32 allen wrench. That is all.

  • Sunny G.

We extend the PDA to

No Public Display of:

Square end for me. I tend to snap ball end wrenches really easily.

Now, back to the topic.