Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tag! You're It - Unless You Go To Willett Elementary
Warning! Rant Ahead!
Elementary School can be a rough place. Anytime you mix kindergarten age kids, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders all in the same square block there is a potential for trouble. Kids are bullied, made fun of, teased, and otherwise introduced into the rough and tumble world in which we live. Grade school playgrounds are, more often than not, the place where kids learn that life isn’t fair.
Every kid needs to learn this lesson. They need to learn how to deal with challenges in an environment where teacher isn’t looking over their shoulder every minute.
With the short, and growing ever shorter every year – according to my son anyway, recess periods kids often play short quick games which are often unsupervised by adult monitors. Pick up games of basketball, foursquare, kickball, dodgeball, and last but not least, Tag, have been played on courts and fields since schools began.
Well, in Attleboro, Massachusetts you can scratch Tag, touch football, or any other unsupervised game from kids’ recess activities. Gaylene Heppe, Willett Elementary School Principal and the ultimate approver of the ban stated:
[Recess is] a time when accidents can happen.Accidents during recess? I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you!
Now I don’t know about you, but my grade school experience wasn’t exactly accident free. I came home with plenty of bumps, bruises, scrapes and other assorted injuries. All of these mishaps can be attributed to one very obvious fact: I was a kid.
The administration at Willet Elementary banned Tag and other games for fear of being sued by some parent whose child comes home with a split lip. I can’t say that I blame them.
There was a time, at least in my memory, when parents just accepted the fact that kids sometimes behave badly and injure (intentionally or otherwise) other kids. If your kid got scraped up playing Tag on the playground, you slapped some bandages on him/her and sent them back to school the next day – often with the admonition to be more careful next time or run faster.
As a society, we are protective of our children. This is as it should be. But there comes a point at which we protect our children from so much that they enter the world unprepared to deal with the realities therein. The educational elite would have you believe playground games are bad. Well, elites can become so inbred that they produce hemophiliacs who bleed to death as soon as they are nicked in the real world.
This world needs tough people who know how to deal with others. These lessons aren’t taught in the classroom. More often than not they are taught on the playground by games kids make up themselves. Life’s hard lessons are best learned early.
Here endeth the lesson.