Hot Topic: Tag – you’re it!
Officials at a Nashua elementary school are, predictably, getting some grief for their ban on the game of tag on the playground. Their beef: kids who tag each other too aggressively in the heat of the moment, slugging their classmates in a way that really hurts. Their rule: only no-contact games.
But this is not – by far – the first instance of school officials putting the kibosh on longtime recess activities. Below are a dozen more. Yes, yes, we all played them and all made it more or less safely to adulthood. But think for a moment. Do any of these rules make sense? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
∎ In Port Washington, N.Y., officials recently banned footballs, baseballs, soccer balls and lacrosse balls. Soft Nerf balls are okay.
∎ Also in Port Washington, N.Y., games of tag will require supervision from a coach.
∎ It’s not just Americans. “British Bulldog” – a game similar to tag in which players have to run from one side of the playing field to the other without being caught by a designated “bulldog” – has also been targeted as too violent.
∎ Last year, several communities in the Flemish region of Belgium instituted fines for starting snowball fights.
∎ This spring, school officials at a school in London banned playground games that involve “imaginary weapons.”
∎ Many schools across the country now frown on dodgeball, not only because of physical injuries but because officials fear that some students could be singled out as targets for bullies.
∎ Some British schools have outlawed “conkers,” a game many Americans have never heard of. A conker is the (large!) seed of a horse chestnut tree. Two players, each with a conker threaded onto a piece of string, take turns striking each other’s conker until one breaks.
∎ An Australian school recently banned Red Rover, for fear of injury.
∎ In Portland, Ore., a few years back public schools recently eliminated swings, merry-go-rounds, tube slides and teeter-totters.
∎ In Broward County, Fla., officials banned running at recess.
∎ In Attleboro, Mass., a few years back, touch football and any other unsupervised “chasing” games were outlawed.
∎ One more from the cautious town of Port Washington, N.Y.: No cartwheels at recess without supervision.