Thursday, October 19, 2006

No Wonder we're Fat

Give it another few months. Eventually schoolkids will not be able to go outside at all, and will spend "recess" sitting at their desks with their hands folded.

A bit of hyperbole, of course, but schools in Attelboro, MA, Cheyenne, WY, and Spokan, WA have banned the outdoor game "tag" -- you know, one person is it, they chase the others around and when you are touched, you become It and chase the others. Everyone has played this game. It's a staple of every schoolyard the world over.

The school in Attleboro has banned tag, touch football, and any "chase games" apparently because they're afraid the kids will get hurt and parents will sue. Playing tag is, I believe, part of being a kid, and banning it smacks of micromanaging kids' lives and living in fear of our (admittedly overly-)litigious society. Some parents are pleased, and say their kids feel "safer" because they can no longer play at recess, others think the whole idea is silly, and sad.

Well, just what are the kids supposed to DO? Stand around in closely supervised groups and stare at each other? Play entirely alone, since no "contact" is allowed? This is getting a bit ridiculous.

Hopefully there is more to the story; perhaps there are plenty of supervised games at recess -- but I doubt it. Recess has always been a free-for-all, and I doubt that schools have the resources and personnel to monitor every single activity that occurs outside.

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