Friday, December 01, 2006


More than you ever wanted to know about the adult plot to get rid of Tag & Recess!

Ban on Tag, Other Activities Makes Anti-Obesity Effort Ring Hollow

Portland Press Herald, October 24, 2006

The Portland Press Herald directly links the growing trend to ban tag and other contact games during recess and America’s childhood obesity problem. Discussing Willett Elementary’s decision to ban tag in particular, the paper writes: "Reportedly, the fear of injury (and, implicitly, the legal liability that would impose on the school systems) is the reason for the ban. The school's concerns may be real enough, but they nonetheless comprise a sad commentary on our society – and our efforts to combat obesity in children. It's hard to ban exercise on the one hand and complain about overweight kids on the other, but that's just exactly what this decision has accomplished." Not only do recess games "[ help] kids avoid putting on weight," the paper argues, but they "keep kids' minds going" in the classroom as well by allowing them to expend pent-up energy. "Letting worries about [bumps and bruises] keep kids from active play is a mistake," the paper concludes, "and a big one, too."

Click here to read the full article.

Schools Ruling Out Fun on Playground, Critics Say
Maria Sacchetti, The Boston Globe, October 23, 2006

Reporting on the "uproar" caused by Willett Elementary School officials' recent decision to enforce a ban on tag during recess, Maria Sacchetti of the Boston Globe writes that the nationwide reaction "reflects the passionate feelings about child’s play." "In the past 20 years," she relates, "school systems in the Bay State and around the nation have increasingly imposed restrictions on play, determined to prevent serious injury and lawsuits that can follow an accident. Several Massachusetts schools have been sued by parents whose children were injured at school in recent years." She quotes Common Good Executive Director Franklin H. Stone who argues that the "regulation of play," which, in part, has reduced the size and scope of slides and swings, "ha[s] become too strict over the past two decades." "‘I'll even defend the see-saw,’" says Ms. Stone. "‘I'll tell you what you learn from the see-saw. You learn about working with other people.’" The president of the Hanlon Elementary School parent-teacher organization, John Cummings, would probably agree. He states, commenting on the 29 playground rules listed in the Westwood, MA’s school handbook: "‘It's a shame that we've come to the point where you have to put all these rules down when kids play …. I think they should let kids fall down, get up, dust themselves off, and get right back on.'"

Click here to read the full article.

Common Sense in Recess
News-Journal (Daytona Beach, FL), October 23, 2006

The News-Journal (Daytona Beach, FL) looks at the growing trend of schools banning contact sports during recess and argues: "There's a new bully in schools: overregulation." "[I]n a litigious climate," the paper explains, "schools try to limit claims as much as possible. Eliminating some risk of injury on the playground translates into reduced claims. And it diminishes playground supervisors' look-out duties. But pupils aren't actuarial variables. They're in school to learn, and some of their learning takes place on the playground. Schools aren't doing their students favors by overly controlling their environment." The paper lauds the experimental effort of one local middle school principal who is "go[ing] against the trend of cutting back on less structured activities" and, for two periods every Wednesday, is offering her students the opportunity to engage in such activities as arts and crafts, poetry writing, checkers – and touch football. "The idea," the paper writes,"[i]s to add to pupils' learning experiences, even if those entail activities not everyone has aptitude for: If touch football is exclusionary or too rough for some, it is also more inclusionary to those who might not feel so included in, say, algebra class."

Click here to read the full article.

Two More Schools Ban Tag
MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, MA) and KGWN-TV (Cheyenne, WY), October 20, 2006

You can add McCarthy Elementary in Framingham, MA, and Freedom Elementary in Cheyenne, WY, to the list of schools that have banned tag, "the age-old schoolyard game." Students at McCarthy, MetroWest Daily News reports, have "invent[ed] their own no-contact version of the game to get around a rule requiring that they do not touch each other." At Freedom, administrators "no longer allow[ ] children to play [tag] because they say the game may be too dangerous for the kids." And, as KGWN-TV explains, "schools all across the country are moving in this direction as schools take measures to limit their liability for injuries sustained on the playground."

Click here to read the full MetroWest Daily News article.

Click here to read the full KGWN-TV coverage.

Students Dodge Tag Ban
Chrissie Thompson, The Washington Times, October 19, 2006

The recent ban on playing tag during recess at Willett Elementary in Attleboro, MA, has drawn the criticism of current and past IPA/USA representatives. In an article in The Washington Times, Audrey Skrupskelis, the current board president of IPA/USA, "a nongovernmental organization dedicated to children's right to play," argues: "‘It’s important for kids to be able to take some risks because if we try to protect them from every available risk, they don’t learn coping mechanisms …. In terms of large-muscle coordination and movement, these are the games that burn calories in terms of the weight kids are putting on …. Of course, we want to provide a safe environment for our kids, but no one grew up without a scraped knee.’" Rhonda Clements, IPA/USA’s former president, agrees, "call[ing] the movement to ban tag ‘absolutely ridiculous.’" "’We’re creating a generation of children that are no longer decision-makers as to their own play activities,’" she continues. "‘You're basically telling children that we don’t trust their ability to play and not lose their temper.’" Ms. Clements, now an education professor at Manhattanville College in New York, was a panelist at Common Good’s Value of Play conference in May 2006.

Click here to read the full article.

Not It! Mass. Elementary School Bans Tag
The Associated Press, October 18, 2006

"[F]or fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable," administrators at Willett Elementary School in Attleboro, MA, "have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess." And as The Associated Press relates, this is just the latest rule to affect school recess. A few years back, Attleboro school officials "took aim at dodgeball … saying it was exclusionary and dangerous." Bans on tag have also been recently put into effect at elementary schools in Cheyenne, WY, and Spokane, WA. And outside Charleston, SC, a school has banned "all unsupervised contact sports." At least one Willett Elementary parent is unhappy with the school’s decision. Debbie Laferriere tells the AP: "‘I think that it’s unfortunate that kids’ lives are micromanaged and there are social skills they’ll never develop on their own …. Playing tag is just part of being a kid.’"

Click here to read the full article.

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