If you grew up in the 1900s, you might have thought of “necking” as a sign of affection between romantic lovers. In the 21st century, however, all it takes is two friends and some thick skin.
In contrast to the traditional definition of caressing another human, necking can refer to slapping someone on the back of the neck.
Senior Dylan Cole said the point of necking someone is to let that person know they “messed up” in some way.
Necking is more common among boys than girls. However, both groups are exposed to the action.
“I would never neck a girl or a teacher,” Cole said, “but just because they are around doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it to a friend.”
While neck-slapping is generally a casual, joking gesture between friends, this simple strike can intensify into something a bit more serious.
On Thursday, March 16, a neck slap escalated into a more intense physical retaliation. According to an email from assistant principal Melanie Pando sent to Granite Bay High School staff members a day after the conflict, this event, which took place during 2nd period at GBHS, led to suspensions.
Teachers were advised to look for necking in their classrooms and around campus and to take advantage of the “teachable moment to explain to students why this isn’t appropriate behavior,” in reference to the staff email.
Although GBHS faculty members have been instructed to take note of any necking incidents that do occur, Pando said it is better to prevent such circumstances from ever happening.
“In terms of consequences and how to handle the situation, as with most misbehaviors that we see on campus, each one is unique and individual,” Pando said in a separate email. “Our goal is always to stop misbehaviors with the least invasive intervention possible.”
According to Bill Lauretti, associate professor at New York Chiropractic College and media spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), a slap to the neck will not generally cause physical harm, but in extreme cases, the damage can be severe.
“A ‘friendly’ open-handed slap, although rude and obnoxious, is unlikely to cause a major injury,” Lauretti said, “but a very strong slap, especially if – purposely or not – (it) strikes the neck with the edge of the hand (“karate chop” style), can potentially cause a fairly serious injury, particularly if the victim is unprepared for the blow.”
Although necking does not often reach the point of serious impairment, minor neck pain can also lead to an interference of day-to-day activities.
“For students who spend much of their time reading and studying, a sore neck can make those activities painful and much more difficult,” Lauretti said. “Neck pain can also make participation in almost every sport difficult and can affect the performance of a player enough to hurt your school team’s success.”
Lauretti said common symptoms of neck injury include dizziness, numbness and headaches. The most likely headache to stem from a neck slap is a “cervicogenic headache,” which results from pain directed from the neck to the head.
“Older people are generally more susceptible to neck injury,” Lauretti said. “Children and teens, because their bodies are still developing, are also especially susceptible to longstanding injuries.”