It's an image I can't get out of my mind: school personnel ruthlessly hacking tentacles off the torsos of hapless students.
The sci-fi films of my adolescence featured monster squid with powerful suckers and deadly teeth. But some plants and mammals also have an "elongated flexible unsegmented extension".
The broader meaning of the word refers to "the ability to grasp or stretch." So by removing, "chopping off", students' "tentacles", we are restricting their reach, limiting their ability to stretch and grow.
“Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?” -Robert Browning
Photo by Dawdles