Or we could just ban recess altogether

Just when you think our schools couldn’t be disabled or dismantled any further, someone dreams up some new hazard. It was bad enough when kids got suspended for “shooting” each other with finger guns or playing make believe with a “magic” ring, or when a kindergartner’s temper tantrum warranted being arrested and handcuffed. All that, of course, came after the years when school districts were removing all their playground equipment (swings, teeter totters, etc.) for fear of being sued if a child got injured.

It seems there’s just no end to the hazards lurking in our schools. The newest discovery comes to us from the ever-vigilant Mercer Island School District in Seattle, where kids can no longer play tag at recess. That’s right. Tag. The game where someone is “it” and has to run around trying to tap or tag someone else who then becomes “it.” It’s a fearsome game. All that running. And potential touching. And the horror of becoming “it” because you were too slow or clumsy to avoid being tagged. Oh, the shame!

The district’s communications director Mary Grady explained the ruling to the local Fox affiliate:

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

“Physical and emotional safety.” See what I mean? Who would have imagined a game of tag could threaten the physical or emotional safety of those involved? Thank goodness we have school officials today who are so concerned about our children’s safety. ’Tis a wonder I survived playgrounds with swings, other kids “shooting” me with make-believe guns, innumerable games of tag, and even … gasp!… the infamous and eventually banned red rover.

So what are kids to do during recess? Go outside and just stand around silently until called back inside? (Can’t have them running; someone might fall down and get hurt.) Probably would be safer just to ban recess altogether.

UPDATE: Tag ban lifted following outcry

16 thoughts on “Or we could just ban recess altogether

      1. Actually, probably not. Your post about the school shows a reaction that is the tip of a social epidemic in our legal system; it empowers people to be victims entitled to compensation for everything.

        1. I’m afraid you’re right. Even as I was writing about this particular absurdity, I was thinking about the bigger picture — all the talk of microaggressions and trigger warnings at the college level and the distortions of political correctness in society as a whole. I don’t know where it’s all going to end, but it’s both alarming and depressing.

  1. I must be lucky because I don’t remember knowing any of the millions of children who must have been maimed or killed during recess when we played dodge ball, football, and trying for a record when jumping from the swing at the near horizontal apex. But then, I’m old and my memory isn’t what it once was.

    1. I was similarly lucky with dodge ball and (horrors) red rover. I did my swing-jumping at home, where we had a playground-quality swing and a nice soft lawn to land on. Only dirt landings at school, and the teachers would have killed me.

      You don’t suppose our memories were damaged by all that swing-jumping … ?? I mean, jumping from a swing when you’re halfway to the sky could be dangerous …

    1. Schools were different when those parents were educated. They got to play tag. Of course, the teachers were educated then too. But somewhere along the line, something got screwed up. Common sense went out the window. Political correctness became all important. Or something. Society has become a terrible mess with wrong-headed priorities and …

      Sorry. Old lady starting to rant. I’ll be quiet now.

  2. What are kids to do at recess these days? Why, text each other on their smartphones, I would think. Or take pictures of each other and post them on Instagram. Quite sad, eh?

... and that's my two cents