Schools ban games of tag to protect the “physical and emotional safety” of children

To protect our delicate little flowers, a school in Washington has decreed that the game of ‘tag’, otherwise known as ‘it!’ is too traumatic.

Children playing tag

“Will somebody PLEASE think of the children!?”

“Red rover, red rover, we call Nancy over!” Remember that? Then you’d charge into the tightly gripped arms of other sugar-hyped kids before breaking through and rolling onto the grass behind.

Times change. While some kids are being cautioned by police for playing Dungeons & Dragons, Mercer Island School District in Washington have banned children from playing ‘tag’, so as to protect their “physical and emotional well-being”.

Mary Grady, the communications director of Mercer Island School District explains via e-mail:

“The Mercer Island School District and school teams have recently revisited expectations for student behaviour 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.

School staffs are working with students in the classroom to ensure that there are many alternative games available at recess and during unsupervised play, so that our kids can still have fun, be with their friends, move their bodies and give their brains a break.”

Basically, they have deemed it emotionally harmful for one child to have physical contact with another. A slightly confusing rationale, given that scientific research shows touch is a vital part of human development.

Melissa Neher, a mother with two children at Mercer Island public school said: “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.”

Neher created a Facebook page to help spread the word to other parents who were not consulted, or whom only found out about the ban through their own children.