The Mercer Island School District announced Friday that tag is reinstated on the school district playgrounds after an immediate backlash from parents. The school district banned the popular childhood game for being too violent and often leading to injuries and name-calling.
But parents thought otherwise. They argue that the game of tag help their offspring grow and learn despite the injuries. Parents also said that they weren’t consulted on this matter before the measure was taken.
But the school district replied that the ban was an extension of a new ‘hands off’ policy, which doesn’t allow close contact between students in classrooms and even school playgrounds anymore. Parents learned about the change in policy from Lakeridge Elementary’s principal on Thursday or their children.
Superintendent Gary Plano wrote in a public statement that the initiative was undertaken because students needed to learn how to show consideration for their peers’ personal space and ‘unique differences.’
In response, a group of parents from Lakeridge started a Facebook page designed to back the popular game. The group gathered the support of more than 400 parents in less than 24 h.
“I totally survived tag. I even survived red rover, believe it or not,”
said Joyce Kelsey, a mom from Mercer Island who had the idea of the Facebook page.
Other parents said that banning tag in an age in which obesity went rampant was not a wise idea. Other moms and dads argued that kids need really bad ‘unstructured playtime’ to stay emotionally healthy.
Yet, the school district announced that the ban was necessary because the playground game triggered last year several unfortunate incidents including minor injuries, fighting, and name-calling during recess.
Following parent’ backlash, the school district pledged that it would come up with safer forms of tag. These running games were supposed to prevent fights over who was tagged or not, or violent hits on school playground.
But on Friday, education officials lifted the ban. The Mercer Island incident, however, is not unique. Several school districts outlawed contact games for being too violent, while others banned balls and other game instruments from schools’ playgrounds.
Nine years ago, several Spokane schools banned tag from their playgrounds to make sure students were safe, and the ban still stands. The Mercer Island school principals also plan to talk with parents and staffers about how recess games should be played.
Children are now happy that their favorite game is back. Some of them play up to four different versions of the game including one that features a flying spaghetti monster.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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