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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

∎ 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.

Legacy Comments3

It's things like the bulleted items ticked off in this column that make me feel embarrassed to call education my profession.

One would think the UNION had already none that

Reading articles like these..might cause you to fall from your chair in disbelief, and cause injury. Suggest we ban them.

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