Right Hooks

Washington School District Bans 'Dangerous' Game of Tag

"[T]o ensure the physical and emotional safety of all students."

Jordan Candler · Sep. 29, 2015
Physically and emotionally unsafe?

Michelle Obama says “Let’s Move!” But that’s hard to do when schools restrict age-old children’s activities, ostensibly “to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all students.” That’s the defense claimed by a Washington state district when it recently decided to prohibit tag on school grounds. Communications director Mary Grady wrote in a statement, “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.” As one agitated parent put it, “In this day and age of childhood obesity, there’s a need for more activity. Kids should be free to have spontaneous play on the playground at recess. It’s important for their learning.” Unless, of course, that activity could inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings. As this mother demonstrates, parents know what’s best for their children. So why, then, are parents increasingly being left out of the conversation? The district didn’t even consult them before making a decision. Furthermore, most sports involve some form of contact — are we going go ban soccer and football next? The absurdity of zero tolerance policies has a well-documented history. Fortunately, the furor has many districts reversing course. And the quicker they do, the better. Otherwise, before you know it, the PC police may visit you next, shouting, “Tag, you’re it!”

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