The Short of It
Tag, you're not it! A new school policy in Washington bans kids from playing a game they've enjoyed for decades. So is this another example of the police state taking over, or a sensible solution to playground dangers looming large?
Parents were apparently not aware until recently that the Mercer Island School District in Washington state had banned their children from playing tag. Communications director Mary Grady explains the rationale behind the decision:
"The Mercer Island School District and school teams have recently revisited expectations for student behavior to address student safety. This means while at play, especially during recess and unstructured time, students are expected to keep their hands to themselves. The rationale behind this is to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all students. School staffs are working with students in the classroom to ensure that there are many alternative games available at recess and during unsupervised play, so that our kids can still have fun, be with their friends, move their bodies and give their brains a break."
But many parents aren't buying this explanation, and don't appreciate they weren't consulted before the decision was made. Some joked to local news station KSN that somehow they survived tag when they were kids! Others are concerned about the lack of exercise their children are getting during recess if they can't run around after one another. One mom created a Facebook page where parents can voice their opinions about the ban, and hundreds of users have joined.
It does seem many schools are overregulating students' behavior to the point of not letting them be kids. Schools are banning food from holiday celebrations, for example. Just ask my second grader, who isn't allowed to enjoy any seasonal treats at her upcoming Halloween party. I understand there is a child obesity epidemic, but I'm sorry; some Twizzlers once a year isn't going to solve that, especially since they can buy pizza and cookies down the hall in the cafeteria!
At least she's still allowed to play tag—for now.