Thursday, October 19, 2006

Playground Menace

Willett Elementary School in Attleboro, MA has banned “all unsupervised chasing games.” In other words, kids at that school can no longer play tag during recess. (Story here and here.) Principal Gaylene Heppe claims that this was done because school officials are worried for the safety of the students.

Principal Heppe, I ask you, why stop with tag? Riding the school bus, crossing the street on the way to school or even being driven to school in the family car are all extremely dangerous. Children have actually been killed doing those things! You should probably ban them as well, out of concern for the safety of the children. In fact, just close the whole school down. It’s probably safer for children to never venture out in the scary world. After all, it would be tragic if any child scraped a knee. Just tragic!

No, wait, what am I saying? The real tragedy is that anyone would even consider a ban against tag. How the hell do we expect kids to grow up to be normal if we overprotect them at every step along the way? I’m not saying that parents should hope for their kids to scrape their knees or get pushed down on the playground or get tagged too hard, but they needn’t stress out over the possibility that these things might happen. Kids are pretty resilient creatures and guess what? Scrapes and bruises heal. But growing up without ever being allowed to experience life? That’s pretty hard to fix.


Kirsten said...

Not just tag, but on the whole subject of overprotectiveness when there are more parents at the bus stop than children. When I was a kid, if a parent was at the bus stop then someone was in serious trouble. These days, kids can't make a single move without parents hovering over them for their alleged protection. No wonder kids can't get their own place until they're 30.

Meloncutter said...

It's not the overprotectiveness of the children. Kids will be kids no matter what. It's the fear of the over eager money grubbing parents and the lucrative liability payouts that attorneys can garner from the bleeding heart judges that make the world not fun for the kids any more.

Kids will play, Kids will get hurt and Mom and Dad will sue for the easy buck.

Right or wrong... That's the world of today.

Later Yall....

BeeJiggity said...

Thank You, Meloncutter.

We all want to stand up and defend the ability for kids to go out and act like kids. Even at risk of hurting themselves, but because of the threat of law suits, no one can justify the cost benefit calculations.

The problem here is that no one factors in the ritlin-zombies who get fat because they have no ambition. It is like a generation of pot smokers who didn't even get the fun of being high.

I hate somebody here, and there's enough blame to go around, so anyone who takes offense should be offended!

Michael C said...

We've all been tagging each other like crazy in blogville lately. Seriously, we've got to let kids enjoy the relatively few short years that they get to be kids!!

There's a great song by Billy Dean called Let The Be Little...we need to be doing more of that!

Biomed Tim said...

The freedom to play tag, is no longer free.

Lawyers are made out to be the bad guys in this story but we only have ourselves to blame; PEOPLE hired those lawyers to do their bidding.

We've become a society that's all too ready for everybody else to incur the costs of our losses...i.e. if something bad happens to ME, it must be SOMEONE's fault, and SOMEONE must PAY.

It's also easy to sit here an criticize society. I challenge us all (including myself) to look at the problem critically when it is much more visceral. What will YOU say when your father dies at the hospital and you suspect medical malpractice? Who will YOU be tempted to blame when your kid's schoolbus gets into a crash?

Odat said...


slaghammer said...

I suspect this is all part of the ebb and flow of life on earth. Check back in ten years and we will probably find kids breaking bones on the playground again. Under reaction breeds overreaction and that in turn encourages a new phase of under reaction. It happens that way in politics, medicine, hygiene, diet, automobile maintenance, capital investment, lawn care, etc, etc, etc.

lastonehere said...

Tag you are it, please don’t sue me.

Ra Ra Ra Bunggio said...

The lawyers are fine(gasp!)... it's the easily swayed juries out there that allow for these things to happen. If they would look at any issue with common sense, tag wouldn't be banned, people wouldn't sue others for a 'rude comment' on another person's blog. (check out the Foo Logs for this one).

And yes, I do hope my kids (when I have them that is) go out and scrape their knee. I hope they go out and make mistakes. How else will they ever learn anything?

oss said...

I can't believe that things have come to this! Jeez!!!

Barb said...

What they all said.. and better than I could have =)


Kirsten: Amazing that there are even any adults alive, given that we all probably played tag and stood at the bus stop by ourselves!

Meloncutter: Suddenly I want my kids to get hurt playing tag so I can get rich. ;)

Beejiggity: Interesting how in the days before Ritalin use was so widespread, the teachers used recess to wear out the little hyperactive kids. Now we have them all drugged up and don't let them play. Hmm...

Michael C: Uh-oh, tagging in blogville can be dangerous. People may be forced to divulge secrets they didn't want to divulge. Perhaps we need to put a stop to it immediately. ;)

Biomed Tim: I know what you mean and I hate when people think they should sue over everything. My son broke his arm at camp. Suing never crossed my mind (even though I ended up with the medical bills). It was an accident for goodness sakes! Now my mother works at a camp and says parents routinely ask the camp to compensate them for every minor little boo-boo. Yikes!

Odat: Craziness, I tell you, craziness.

Slaghammer: OK, then I must tell my kids they can't have any kids for 10 years. I want my grandkids to be able to play tag!

Last One Here: I have already placed a call to my lawyer. Watch out. :)

Ra Ra Ra Bunggio: So if I post a rude comment on your blog, a jury of my peers may force me to give you all my money? Yikes! At least I have no money, so I guess it’s OK for me to keep posting rude comments. :)

OSS: Me neither! Kind of makes me long for the '70s and 80s, tacky though they were. :)

Barb: Let me take this opportunity to thank you for visiting my blog!