Oct 18, 2006

Perhaps they'll let them play video games instead

A Massachusetts school has banned "tag" and other chase games during recess.

No, I'm totally serious.

Why? Because school officials are afraid the kids will get hurt and sue, making the school vulnerable to litigation and possible financial ruin.

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.

Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Spokane, Washington, also recently banned tag during recess. A suburban Charleston, South Carolina, school outlawed all unsupervised contact sports.

"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."

Another Willett parent, Celeste D'Elia, said her son feels safer because of the rule. "I've witnessed enough near collisions," she said.

This is the most absurd, paranoid, and short-sighted thing I have ever heard. Has our society become so litigious that schools are now afraid of letting kids be ... kids? Not to mention the obesity epidemic. Let the kids run off that can of soda their parents packed in their lunch, or the chips they bought from the vending machine in the hallway.

Secondly, I hope I never become a paranoid mother, like Mrs. What's-her-face.

(Props to Cecilia for the link.)

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