School district bans game of tag to ‘ensure physical, emotional safety of students’

Q 13 Fox – by Steve Kiggins

MERCER ISLAND, Wash. — Kids at the Mercer Island School District are now banned from playing the popular childhood game of tag on the playground.

Parents told Q13 Fox News they had no idea about the ban until their kids told them.  Now, moms and dads are asking why they weren’t part of the decision-making process.

“Good grief, our kids need some unstructured playtime,” said mom Kelsey Joyce.  

It’s a game that practically everyone has played – but if you go to public school on Mercer Island, keep your hands to yourself.

District parents were surprised by the decision.

“I totally survived tag,” said Joyce. “I even survived red rover, believe it or not.”

“I played tag,” said mom Melissa Neher, “I survived.”

The signs outside one elementary school encourage kids to join league sports teams – but playing tag on the playground is no longer allowed during recess.

“In this day and age of childhood obesity, there’s a need for more activity,” said Neher. “Kids should be free to have spontaneous play on the playground at recess. It’s important for their learning.”

Neher has two kids in Mercer Island public schools.

She created a Facebook page to help spread the word to other parents about the ban. In less than 24 hours, hundreds of moms and dads joined to voice their concerns, mainly that the district didn’t ask parents what they thought first.

“This decision needs to be reevaluated with input from the kids and from the community,” added Neher.

Now that the ban is in place, one of Joyce’s kids no longer plays during recess.

“He has been spending most of his recesses wandering around with his friend talking about video games, which is the last thing I want him to be doing,” she said.

Mercer Island School District communications director Mary Grady explained the district’s decision via email:

“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. 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.”

8 thoughts on “School district bans game of tag to ‘ensure physical, emotional safety of students’

  1. Some of us kids who over 65-70 are lucky to be alive today. When I was a kid in grade school we had a huge playground that was not fenced. If we had change in our pocket we would run across the street and get a box of candy cigarettes and pretend we were smoking. We brought our own baseballs, gloves and bats to school and each recess played scrub, a game of baseball when there are not enough players for a team. We also had teaches who would get out and umpire our games. Yes, back then the teachers wore suits and high heels, but they still umpired the games for us.

    And speaking of playground equipment…we had metal slides that were at least eight feet tall at the top. There was the ocean wave…that was a merry-go-around that was suspended on a metal pole. Depending on how the weight was distributed and who wanted to get in the middle between the seats and the pole to make it go around, that would depend on how much of a wave effect it would have. We would also lock our feet under the bars when sitting and lay out flat when sitting as it was going around and up and down. We had see-saws with 2×8 planks put across metal pipes. We had swings with metal poles and board seats. We would swing in those as high as we could and then jump out to see who could bail out the furthest. Then there were the metal chinning bars in 3 stair step heights. No we did not use them for chinning, we would wrap one knee around them and go around and around with the help of a friend. We also had a small merry-go-around with a flat surface with bars to hold on to. We would get it going fast to see who would be slung off. We also had tether ball on a metal pole to play. We would take rocks and play hop scotch in the dirt after drawing out the squares. I am sure there was more equipment I have forgotten about, but we did have fun. As soon as the bell rang we would race to our favorite thing to play on or do something else and come back in the classroom dirtier than we were when we left it 30 minutes prior. Back in those days the schools were not air conditioned as they are today. Your class might be lucky if it had a fan.

    Yes we had play ground equipment to play on. Very rarely was a kid hurt. If they we got hurt, we picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off and got right back on again. It was not surprising to see the principal out on the play ground at recess. He would watch for kids causing trouble. When he would find them, he picked them up and paddled them with his hand.

    Yes, schools are not what they used to be and neither is the education kids receive today. They cannot add or subtract among other things. They don’t learn history as we did and they cannot add without a calculator or cell phone. Neither of those were invented when I was in school.

    You all have a good day, just thinking backward at the good times kids are no longer allowed to have.

    1. Yes Sara, 65 to 70 kids in a single room. Couldn’t wait for recess. A bruise or skinned knee was just part of growing up. Had to worry more about mom from the holes in my pants. 🙂 And yeah, what was air conditioning? Some of the 8 classrooms had fans, brought in by the nuns. The good old days……..

    2. LOL. Reminds me of my little 2-room country grade school where teachers did not monitor recess (I think they secretly sighed with relief for those breaks from the little hooligans) and scores were settled without adult meddling.

  2. Because it’s all about being part of the borg collective “team.” Unstructured play tends to nurture independence and critical thinking skills and will henceforth be strongly discouraged.

  3. It doesn’t surprise me that a school district is preventing kids from having anything that resembles a normal childhood. This nonsense is just more of the usual ridiculousity coming from the public school system, and it’s progressed to the point of cruelty in many cases.

    If you subject your kid(s) to that abuse and brainwashing program you’re unfit to be a parent. You don’t deserve to have kids if you’ll willingly send them into that hell-hole.

    It’s not just a matter of an inferior education anymore. Between vaccinations, scream rooms, duct tape restraints, cops hauling away 6 year-olds in handcuffs for being six year-olds, and their being force-fed poison at the behest of the first transvestite, there’s no way that you can argue that the public education system isn’t putting kids in immediate danger, at least on a psychological level. (soon they may be beating them with sticks, too)

  4. “He has been spending most of his recesses wandering around with his friend talking about video games,…”

    Objective achieved.

    This bullsh#t can be summed up in a single word… INDOCTRINATION.

  5. I used to coach youth basketball. The year I hung up my sneakers the school district and athletic administrator had decided that in grades 3 through 6, we will not be allowed to keep score at tournaments. Apparently, in their fantasy world, life’s hunky dory, and no one loses.

    Now, a harmless game of tag may expose a “loser” but, that’s OK, we can all pretend life’s fair and everyone will get their equal share. “Jimmy, you may appear to be the biggest loser, but, close your eyes, and pretend you’re a winner.” “We’re all winners” (losers in the long run)

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