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McLean VA school temporarily bans tag
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Seems like an easy one doesn't it? Low-hanging blog fruit. OMG! What is up with these idiots! Banning tag! Why, why, that's been played for centuries by children!

And, of course, some of the blogosphere is reacting in just that manner.

So what's the story?
Robyn Hooker, principal of Kent Gardens Elementary School, has told students they may no longer play tag during recess after determining that the game of chasing, dodging and yelling "You're it!" had gotten out of hand. Hooker explained to parents in a letter this month that tag had become a game "of intense aggression."

The principal said that her goal is to keep students safe and that she hopes to restore tag (as well as touch football, also now on hold) after teachers and administrators review recess policies.
OK. And she goes on to explain why she's stopped tag (apparently it has evolved beyond what she considers to be a safe game by some additions the children have come up with. Hey, kids do that sort of thing, and it is her job to monitor it.). I assume, upon review, it'll be reinstated after it has been again modified (and explained to the kids) toward the more traditional game as something kids can again play.

And if not, if she bans it completely, why then I think she and the school are fair game for criticism since I believe any group of adults should be able to supervise a children's game such as what is traditionally considered tag.

But I want to point to something that drives a lot of stuff like this and makes administrators the object of the outrage when, in fact, they're not the primary reason for the caution:
Many schools nationwide have whittled down playground activities in response to concerns about injuries, bullying or litigation. Dodge ball is a thing of the past in many places, and contact sports are often limited at recess.
Get sued a few times and your desire to take chances that might get you sued again dwindles considerably.

I remember as a kid playing Red Rover. We broke another kid's arm doing so. His parents reaction was "that's a part of growing up". That's not the reaction schools get today.

And based on the reaction the school is most likely to get (and, I'm sure with pressure from the insurance carrier as well) they're forced into positions like this while others throw figurative stones at them and claim they're ruining childhood.

Tough position to be in. Solution - quit suing everytime Tommy or Tina stub their toe at school. Yes, there certainly are reasons to sue schools, like this reason, but if you want your child to have the benefit of physical activity, then it comes with a certain level of risk. And if that risk is acceptable (such as within the traditional game of tag) then it is up to you to accept they could be hurt and live with the results.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Another bit of childhood lost, due to lawyers and insurance companies. It doesn’t help that the government school drones go into CYA mode on this stuff, but I do understand why they’d do so.

Written By: Bithead
So, instead of tag, they can play Smear the Queer.

(Yes, I know how un-PC the name of the game is.)
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Sounds like it is time to play some Bombardment.
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
I can completely understand why schools would drop dodge ball. Especially in the upper grades (7th-12th) it can get completely out of hand. I had multiple PE teachers with a lax attitude when I was in school. Some of the big guys could really throw hard and fast. Yeah, it’s the teacher’s fault but litigation WOULD be on my mind as a parent if my child was hurt because no adults had the sense to keep it under control. Frankly all these PE teachers should have been fired. One of them was also stupid enough to have the class try boxing (which he initiated because two guys got into a fight). Fortunately the principal found out about it and ended it before a punch was thrown.
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Dodge ball wouldn’t have been so bad if we weren’t forced to wear PE jumpers with shorts and no sleeves. At least the guys had short sleeves instead of no sleeves. And shorts these days can be to the knees. But dodge balls on bare skin really really hurt. Particularly if thrown by David Kuglar. Yikes!
Written By: Synova
The last time I played Red Rover was in 3rd grade. The second kid called got caught under the chin when he hit the arms of the other team, did a half flip and opened up the inside of his lower lip.

That ended the game in a real hurry.

Strangely, no lawsuit followed.
Written By: Greg
URL: http://
"So, instead of tag, they can play Smear the Queer."

That game must have been more widespread than I thought. Of course, we really didn’t know what ’queer’ was, only that it rhymed. These days kids are taught what ’queer’ means, but don’t know what a rhyme is.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Oh nice. So blame it’s the lawyer then? Typical. [/snark]
Written By: MichaelW

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