Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Playing tag, chase, and other unsupervised contact sports has been banned at a Massachusetts elementary school. I guess the next move will be to pad the world with foam rubber.
From Yahoo! News:
ATTLEBORO, Mass. - Tag, you're out! Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.
Recess is "a time when accidents can happen," said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.
While there is no districtwide ban on contact sports during recess, local rules have been cropping up. Several school administrators around Attleboro, a city of about 45,000 residents, took aim at dodgeball a few years ago, saying it was exclusionary and dangerous.
Are you kidding me? Kids can get hurt eating E. Coli-ridden veggies. Injury can come from walking through the school's front door and tripping. What about buses being overturned? All those events can occur when children are doing things that don't want to do. Why ban activities that they actually like to do? Being alive is risky, period. Hey, even going though the birth canal is stressful, so let's be real. We can do our best to be safe and secure, and we should continue to protect ourselves, but we have to draw the line at complete deprivation.
Aren't there other ways the school can prevent lawsuits in matters like this? Liability waivers? Safety equipment such as mouthguards? Games like tag have been around for centuries, and a skinned knee was considered to be a part of growing up. No, scraping your knee is not a pleasant feeling, but attempting to avoid all cuts and briuses is unrealistic. Look, even if the earth was covered in foam rubber, the children will eat dirt. You can't stop children from being children.
I think this mother said it best:
"I think that it's unfortunate that kids' lives are micromanaged and there are social skills they'll never develop on their own," said Debbie Laferriere, who has two children at Willett, about 40 miles south of Boston. "Playing tag is just part of being a kid."
I support the ban on dodgeball, because dodgeball is just vicious. ;-) (Actually I remember playing dodgeball when I was a kid, and I don't remember it being vicious. But I know it's seen as vicious now, hence the film. What happened?) The rest of this (banning tag, etc.) seems really overboard. I don't think liability waivers would work because teachers and administrators, and whoever supervises recess (if that isn't teachers), would have to keep track of which kids' parents had signed waivers and which hadn't. I think schools should simply be exempted from liability for those kinds of injuries, although it's kind of a slippery slope -- where do you draw the line in the law? Where does the school's responsibility end? I think the rock-bottom problem is that too many people don't have any flippin' common sense any more. And yeah, I know that makes me sound old, and I don't really care. ;-) I think you said it best, actually: Look, even if the earth was covered in foam rubber, the children will eat dirt. You can't stop children from being children. Amen, sister.
- Tim Kynerd
I don't think liability waivers would work because teachers and administrators, and whoever supervises recess (if that isn't teachers), would have to keep track of which kids' parents had signed waivers and which hadn't. Good point. The schools may start tagging the kids like cows just to keep up. I wonder if that would cause an increase in body piercings among teenagers. Hmmm.