Does Your School Ban Tag, Too?

Readers — Here’s a fantastic essay from BabyCenter.  Kristina Sauerwein (cool name!) writes that her third grader announced she’s not allowed to play “chase” anymore:

Apparently, some schools think the random running is dangerous or provokes teasing, hurt feelings and other self-esteem crushers.

I thought this sounded silly and overboard. Who among us didn’t grow up running, chasing and tagging one another? And besides, childhood obesity is serious issue that has been in the news for more than a decade, even soaring to the top of First Lady Michelle Obama’s priorities. How can you tell kids it’s important to be active and then forbid them from running around?…

Perturbed about the anti-taggers, I Googled the issue and discovered that banning chase and tag started in 2006 and, slowly, somewhat quietlyis gaining momentum. One mom in D.C. said, “My kindergartner had to write a note home yesterday to apologize for playing tag at recess…the school has banned tag because some kid got scratched this year” (via DC Urban Moms and Dads).

So, readers, is this happening where you live, too? Are you fighting back? How? Please share. The idea of banning tag actually relates directly to the post under this one, about a school district eavesdropping on all its’ students social media posts, in order to make sure no one gets hurt one way or another.

Somehow, we no longer believe that our kids can do anything safely. Not express themselves on new media, not chase each other in an age-old game. But sitting on the couch (with a parent or guardian nearby), still seems acceptable.

For the moment. – L

Gosh does this look dangerous! (Art linked to

Gosh does this look dangerous!



56 Responses to Does Your School Ban Tag, Too?

  1. Warren August 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Of course, tag ranks right up there with dodgeball as a form of bullying.

  2. Gina August 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    As far as I know, Scottsdale Arizona elementary schools banned tag back when my son was in 3rd grade or so. He is now 16 and I assume it is still forbidden. At the time, I told him he could play tag and that if there were repercussions we would deal with them. I fully intended to take on the school board if need be. It never came to that…I wish it had.
    I am fully disgusted with the entire Scottsdale School District “Code” and I refuse to sign it every year. So far, nobody has asked me about it. My 5 kids have gone through this district since 1994.

  3. Brooks August 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Gina, I redlined the code at our school district here in Vestavia Hills, AL (Birmingham suburb)before signing, and no one seemed to notice. It would be an interesting legal question on whether or not once could negotiate a school-wide policy. Oh well, I never got to that point.

  4. Donna August 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    My kid’s school doesn’t ban tag but I heard the after school program teacher tell the kids no tag one day when we were still on the playground when the ASP kids came out.

    And no you can’t dictate, refuse or negotiate the school code any more than you can do so if you come to my house. My house, my rules and your only choice is to not come in. You and your children are subject to school rules whether you sign them or not and I would guess that it says exactly that someplace on the code that is sent home to sign.

  5. In the Trenches August 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    I get the distinct impression that if we were talking about dogs at a boarding kennel, and the kennel owners refused to let the dogs in their care run about and get exercise while in care, we might call it an abusive situation. Parents entrust their children to the state to educate them and take care of their basic needs during the day when they are not under parental supervision. These needs are not only intellectual, but emotional and physical as well. In my opinion, any school board that interferes with a child’s healthy development by offering insufficient phys. ed. or by disallowing physical exercise on the playground is failing in its basic duty to society and ought to be investigated. Children are at grave physical risk from obesity and inactivity. This is not a trivial matter. And even if parents’ only concern is for their kids’ brains, there’s plenty of good evidence to show that intellect benefits enormously from having a fit body. Where does the state get off taking people’s children from them, sending them to mandatory years of incarceration, and then not even taking care of their basic physical needs?

  6. steve August 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    Parents and teachers are all at fault.
    They just lie down and let the school drive over them.

  7. Warren August 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Why do you think they have you and the student sign those agreements. Only to hold you to whatever moronic rule they come up with.
    Luckily here there are no agreements like that to be signed. And yes you can stand up against the schools authority. Have done it on a few occassions.
    Again the states are going to have to eliminate that whole “Land of the Free” from the anthem.
    Just like with the previous story of the social media monitoring. If you are against it, and put it in writing, they cannot monitor your child’s activity outside of school. Well at least in Ontario, they can’t.

  8. In the Trenches August 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Donna, I would expect that your analogy works in most cases, but what if the house ‘rules’ involve physical deprivation or harm? And what if there was no viable option to going to your house? There can’t be a law requiring me to go to visit you, and then a house rule that says I can only come in if I agree to be punched in the nose. Homeschooling is not an option for everyone.

  9. Amy August 30, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    Here in Tucson, tag is alive and well. In fact they play it before school, during recess, after lunch, and versions of it are even taught in P.E. (like freeze tag). They play a lot of dodgeball too. Of course, it’s boiling hot when they play tag (again, Tucson), but the kids don’t mind and run like crazy anyway.

  10. Donna August 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    “Why do you think they have you and the student sign those agreements. Only to hold you to whatever moronic rule they come up with.”

    All your signature is is an acknowledgement that you received the school code. It is no different than requiring you to sign a speeding ticket at a traffic stop to acknowledge that you received the ticket. In either case, your signature does not indicate that you agree with anything nor does your lack of signature stop the code or ticket from being enforced against you in the least.

    And, yes, you can stand up against the school’s authority. Signing the code of conduct doesn’t hinder that ability in any way nor does refusing to sign give you any advantage in a disciplinary hearing should you choose not to follow some portion of it. Life simply doesn’t work that way.

  11. Jeff August 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    My boss at the preschool I worked at wanted me to tell my kids to downplay the tagging because someone could be knocked over and get sand in their hair or some other such thing. They enjoyed playing vampires vs. werewolves, which was essentially tag with pretend biting (mouths never touched another kid) and pretend scratching with claws. There was of course also the occasional pulling of clothes. Instead of banning tag altogether, I tried to show them how to tag softly to at least make it look like I was trying to do something. Of course the actual usage of the skill by the children was minimal, but it honestly chalked up as high on my care-o-meter as getting them to stop going up the slide or going down the wrong way and not to swing over a certain point.

  12. Donna August 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    “what if the house ‘rules’ involve physical deprivation or harm?”

    Sorry but, while I think a rule banning tag is idiotic, it does not rise to the level of physical deprivation or harm. And if someplace, whether it be my house or a school, was causing my child actual physical deprivation or harm, there would no way in hell that my child would enter that place, law or not.

    But my point was about the refusal to sign a school code as being completely ineffective since the code applies to your child whether you sign the document or not. I said nothing about not attempting to fight to change school rules. I highly encourage everyone to attempt to do so if there are rules that you don’t like. What you can’t do is negotiate an exception for your specific child by redlining or not signing the Code of Conduct.

  13. Donna August 30, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    I guess I should clarify what I meant by comparing the school rules to my house. If you come to my house, my rules apply. You can certainly talk to me about the rules and try to get me to change them. What you can’t do is insist that I change my rules or completely ignore them and expect me to just shrug my shoulders and say okay when you tell me that you just don’t like that rule so you are not going to follow it.

    School – or any other entity that is not your specific house – is the same. You can fight like hell to change the rules, and should if they are not working for you. But at the end of the day the school controls what happens on its property and you are subject to their rules when you enter. You can’t simply violate rules and say “I don’t like that rule so I don’t have to follow it and there is nothing that you can do about it” any more than you can say “I don’t like your rule against eating in the bedroom so I don’t have to follow it and you can’t kick me out of your house.”

    So if the no-tag rule bothers you, fight the school to change it. Or sit on your butt and do nothing about it (except apparently refuse to sign the acknowledgement that you received the school code). But if you choose to sit on your butt and do nothing while encouraging your kid to continue to play tag, I don’t have one once of sympathy for you if your kid gets popped into time-out for playing tag.

  14. Puzzled August 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    Donna – one difference is that when you come to my house, it’s owned by me. The schools are supposedly owned by all of us in common – not by the employees whom we hire to manage and run them. They don’t get to set policy over the objection of the owners, just as a CEO answers to the board. So – if you don’t like the rules, ignore them while running for school board.

    Also, my expectation is that if parents tell a kid that they can do X (which is banned by the school) and that the parents will back them up if they get in trouble, it takes a fair amount of the fun out of X. Not that X is only fun when it’s banned, but the whole insertion of two levels of prohibition/permission makes a game become an exercise in boredom. The whole thing is too idiotic to even touch.

    Maybe we should only have non-competitive tag, where there is no it (or, since we teachers misread all the games, it would be more appropriate to say that everyone gets to be ‘it.’) Also, without tagging, which can be construed as a sexual act.

  15. Puzzled August 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Also, in your scenario, wouldn’t the appropriate person to feel sympathy for by the kid, not the parent – and the kid has done nothing, even by your lights, to lose your sympathy.

    Anyway, though, civil disobedience – such as large groups of parents telling their kids to go ahead and play – is a form of ‘doing something.’ There’s no reason to restrict doing something to safe, establishment-approved forms of protest, such as running, petitioning, etc.

  16. Donna August 30, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    Puzzled – The idea that you own a school because you pay taxes is simply idiotic. You don’t control the rules any government buildings, nor would you be shocked when you don’t get to just demand your way in any other government building. You would expect to be arrested by the secret service if you simply walked into the White House and took a nap in the Lincoln Bedroom, despite the fact that your taxes pay for that building. Not sure why some seem to think that they have greater ownership of schools than the White House, the Pentagon, court houses, federal buildings, state Capitals, etc. — all buildings that are paid for by your tax dollars but over which you have very little control or access.

    People here seem to have a really wrong idea about civil disobedience. Never in the history of civil disobedience has it meant that you get to do whatever you want and suffer no consequences. In fact, the consequences of civil disobedience are sometimes great. You all want to engage in civil disobedience and expect the school to just say “oh well” and do nothing to your little Snowflake. Civil disobedience doesn’t work that way.

    And I said that I felt no sympathy for the PARENT. I have great sympathy for the child in that his parents steered him wrong.

  17. Donna August 30, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    “So – if you don’t like the rules, ignore them while running for school board.”

    While the running for school board if you don’t like the rules is a great idea, you are again back to a complete and total misconstruing of civil disobedience. You can certainly choose to ignore the rules while running for the board; you simply can’t expect that there will be no repercussions for doing so.

  18. Gina August 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    As far as the Code of Conduct, my girls got “dress-coded” so many times and I refused to cooperate that the school finally gave up! I guess it occurred to somebody, somewhere, that their education was more important than whether they were wearing spaghetti straps in 115 degree heat (Scottsdale, again)…They even let my daughter come to middle school with purple hair when I refused to allow her to sit in the “In-school suspension” room (I kept her home). We DO have power and we shouldn’t be afraid to stand our ground.

  19. Mandy August 30, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    They decided to ban tag at my sons school last year. My son and his friend were outraged (as were us parents) The boys asked if we could contact the school to sort it out for them. I wasn’t happy doing it so suggested they write a letter to the principal outlining why they felt the decision was unfair and why it should be reinstated. They wrote the letter, collected signatures from classmates and submitted it to the principal with the understanding her decision would be final. A few days later the boys were called to the principals office to put their arguments and persuade her to reinstate tag. She was so impressed with their efforts and the way they had taken responsibility for trying to work things out,the principal reinstated tag. The two boys were awarded ‘cubby of the week for outstanding citizenship. I was so proud of both boys -they showed initiative, leadership and an outstanding commitment to right injustice. We can fight all of this insanity one situation at a time.

  20. Warren August 30, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Well Donna, there are those that do, and then there are those that worry about what will happen if they step out of line.

    In High School, despite warnings of suspensions, a bunch of students joined the janitorial, and support staff on the picket line.

    My oldest in High School got together with friends and all wore T shirts supporting our troops, after being warned not to, because anything that remotely supported violence was taboo.

    My youngest had a letter on file from grade 2 thru 8, stating that should she be found breaking the zero tolerance of violent behaviour rule, that before they address her, they were to contact me. In grade two they wanted to suspend her for throwing another kid to the ground. My girl was defending her friend from an older kid. They insisted zero tolerance is the rule. I in my mild manner convinced them they were in for a long drawn out fight. The school backed off.

    If my kids feel strongly about anything, I will back there play all the way. And I don’t give a darn who I offend while doing it. I have left more footprints on peoples foreheads handling issues than I can count.

    My personal favorite method, is asking “Do you have a manager, supervisor or boss here?” When they answer “Yes”. I will tell them “Then go get him or her, as I do not have the time nor the inclination to deal with you.” When someone finally answers “No” Then the discussions begin.

  21. Puzzled August 30, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Stating the status quo – that my money is taken from me to build things over which I have no say – has no impact on what is right. I expect to be arrested if I walk into the White House, but it does not follow that such actions are correct. I expect government employees, who work for the people, to resist the urge to impose their will on us – I’m frequently let down, but I don’t lower my expectations just because others don’t reach them.

    On civil disobedience – at times there have been negative consequences suffered, and at times not. But yes, of course people disobeying a rule should expect punishment – whether or not the rule is just, as unjust rules are enforced by unjust people. In fact, frequently the purpose of civil disobedience is to move observers by letting them see what is done to violators – hearts were moved by the sight of dogs and firehoses used on peaceful protesters. The purpose of the 1832 revolution was to die on the barricades and, in the process, wake up Paris – it failed, but the point remains. I hope that my children will, if they feel a rule is unjust, protest against it, even at the expense of detention – just as I hope my students will protest against me when I am unjust.

    I have a student now who has been disciplined for an action I consider perfectly reasonable and just. I have encouraged him to find ways to compromise, despite the fact that the school is wrong – in life, he will many times come up against those who are wrong, and he will need to compromise with them. His friends will be wrong, his wife will be wrong (or, at least, all of these will be true in his mind) and he will need to compromise. If he persists in refusing to do so, though, and continues to tell me that he is right, the school is wrong, and he will continue to act as he has been (I think 100% that he’s right and the school is wrong, by the way) I will continue to stand up for him and to protest when he is punished – and I will probably continue to lose.

    Anyway, there’s no reason for civil disobedience to end just because a punishment is given. A student who breaks an unjust rule and is given detention has no reason to show up to detention – the punishment for an unjust rule is itself unjust, and deserves just as much disobedience. What’s the endgame for the school? There’s no more corporal punishment, schools cannot imprison people (other than forcing them to attend for no crime other than being young), and so on. If the child amasses hours and hours of detention, it will quickly become clear to voters, to the school board, and maybe even to school employees themselves, that this is unjust, particularly if it is publicized. Maybe that won’t work – but what if it were dozens of children, not just one? 20 kids, each with an amassed 50 hours of detention – all for a game of tag? I’ll look forward to the next school board election once the press gets a hold of it.

  22. Gary August 30, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    “someone could be knocked over and get sand in their hair or some other such thing.”

    Sounds to me like it was your boss who had sand somewhere…

    And if tag is banned the “Kill the Guy with the Ball” would have gotten us summarily executed on the spot.

    Try going to back to class with your uniform all stained and buttons missing from your shirt.

  23. Gina August 30, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Yes, there are “repercussions” for breaking rules. But if the rules are unfair then so are the repercussions.

    Case in point:
    Rosa Parks arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus.

    Rule: No blacks in the front seats
    Repercussion: Arrest
    Result: Unfair rule changed (eventually)…


  24. In the Trenches August 30, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Physical deprivation and harm are exactly what is happening in a school system that does not meet the bare minimum standard for physical exercise needed by children for healthy development and growth. Just because nobody is beating the children does not mean that harm is not being done. Americans need to look closely at their own history, and at the present state of other nations whose biggest public health risk is not obesity, and take stock. I don’t get the sense that people there take their health crisis quite seriously enough. If there were an epidemic of malaria or typhus on the level of the obesity epidemic, and the school system responded as poorly, there would be outrage. Imagine yourself as a parent 150 years ago, when mandatory education was being presented for the first time. If you were told that the kids would be forbidden from engaging in normal physical exercise all day for twelve years, would you have let the state take your children? Especially if you knew the costs of inactivity, as we now do? The U.N. Charter on the Rights of the Child explicitly states that “The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right.” Also, in the very next section, “he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.”

    The state, and its schools, are failing in their duty to provide healthy environments for children to develop within. America, how are you letting this happen to you and your kids?

  25. Susan August 30, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    My daughters school ban any hand games. The reason why, the girls may accidentally hit someone. It’s not a district rule, just this elementary. I told my daughter she has my permission to play and to tell the aides or principal to call me.

  26. Inara August 31, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    Tag, in its many variations, is such a staple game in our PE classes I wouldn’t know what to do if it were banned. Btw, we teach them HOW to tag—calling it “butterfly fingers”—and, funny enough, don’t have a problem with injuries.

  27. Andy August 31, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    The ideas that all rules are equally important and breaking a dumb rule is the same as breaking reasonable rule sound very weird to me. Society with such absolutist view on rules is not a place I want to live in.

  28. Andy August 31, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    Forgot to add: the idea that it is ok to leverage any little power you have to control as much as possible is even weirder to me. While breaking dumb rules is may be somewhat chaos making, being too controlling and making too many rules is even worst.

    It is worst because the one with the power should be the one hold to responsibility. If you create rules that strip people (including kids) of all choice, control and are too hard to follow, people (especially kids) will break them. And it will be primary fault of those rules.

    Whether people follow the rules or not is a function of rules themselves. And I’m saying it as someone living in post communist country.

  29. C. S. P. Schofield August 31, 2013 at 9:15 am #


    In theory, the citizens of the United States are sovereign. We are the rulers. The government is our instrument. We do not work for them, they work for us.

    Now, the behavior of most government functionaries clearly shows that they believe otherwise, and that is something that needs to be fixed. But ceding to the public schools the right to dictate to the parents is NOT the way it is supposed to work.

  30. SKL August 31, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    I don’t know if tag is allowed at our school. They do tend to be fairly old-fashioned. I’m just glad they still have recess. 😉

    My kids do some evening activities at The Little Gym, where they do play tag. :) Granted, it’s in a room with a padded floor, but the other day I was afraid one of the kids was going to run through the glass wall. But, as kids generally do, she corrected herself just in time.

  31. charlene August 31, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    My kids school has modified tag to touching only with 2 fingers. They are really into staying inside your bubble and not touching anyone for fear that a child might get hurt, or be misunderstood as bullying. I guess I understand that. And they promote running by making sure the kids run or walk a lap everyday.

  32. Papilio August 31, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Kristina Sauerwein (cool name!)
    Doesn’t sound very sweet though! 😛 (Sorry Kristina! :) )

    I think I can safely assume my own old primary school still allowes tag (and dodge-ball too). I tried to find news (or a blogpost, or anything) about tag being banned, but all I could find was about schools in the USA (and England 1x I believe). Most common comment: “Amerika…”

  33. Beth August 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    “not touching anyone for fear that a child might get hurt, or be misunderstood as bullying.”

    Since when does a simple touch hurt anyone, or become bullying? I shudder to think of the generation of kids who actually believe this (not to mention the adults in their world) and grow up thinking that touches such as a hug, a simple pat on the shoulder, a reassuring hand grasp, are hurtful or bullying and absolutely NOT to be undertaken.

  34. JJ August 31, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    @Gina “They even let my daughter come to middle school with purple hair when I refused to allow her to sit in the “In-school suspension” room (I kept her home”

    What! I think you said earlier that your kids go to public school. Are you kidding that a public school can outlaw dying of hair? Is it only purple that is banned or other colors too? How about highlights? Most of our public schools in Philadelphia have uniforms but as for hair I assumed a public school had no right to dictate hair color, ever. (I guess I could be wrong come to think of it even in my own city). I’m floored. Good for you not cow towing to that ridiculousness. And nothing makes a teenager want to die her hair purple more than a ban against purple hair. How naive are these educators.

  35. SKL August 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Even back in the day when we had to walk to school uphill both ways, hair dye was banned. 😉 Sometimes I think the point of bans like this is to give kids a harmless outlet when they feel the need to rebel. If you let them do everything that isn’t deadly, rebellion will be deadly. May sound ridiculous, but sometimes I really wonder when I look at today’s youth.

    But the other day I saw a little first grader with his hair dyed red and green and sticking up all down the middle. It was crazy hair day. :) Cute. My kids’ school is too uptight to have a crazy hair day. 😉

  36. hineata September 1, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    @SKL, think you hit the nail on the head, so to speak. Same reason why we ban high schoolers from smoking ordinary cigarettes. While they are kept busy rebelling by smoking fags, fewer are smoking dope, lol :-) .

    Though I do agree a ban on tag is crazy. Kids appear to learn pretty quick to leap around those not in the game, and at our school those few who do get inadvertently bowled get carried to the medical room by the guilty party, and seem to enjoy the fuss :-) .

  37. hineata September 1, 2013 at 4:41 am #

    I wonder what anti-taggers, and others excessively worried about kids’ self-esteem, would think of the example used in a Singapore English grammar text I came across a couple of days ago while looking for resources. To help children sort tenses, the ‘prototype’ was:

    His father beats him.
    His father is beating him.
    His father has beaten him.
    His father will beat him.

    And nobody in Singapore/Malaysia, apart from the expats, would bat an eyelid at that.Sheltering kids from life isn’t really a priority here :-) .Wish I could upload the snap I took of the ‘Good Son’, maybe 12, out the back door of his restaurant at 10ish last night washing all the dishes in the outdoor sink…..Not poor by the way, just a good filial child.

    Nothing to do with tag but everything to do with not treating kids like they’re made of glass.

  38. blair September 1, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    I’m okay with Tag.
    I also don’t think it should be banned.
    Where I’m kind of okay with a no tag rule but it still makes me uncomfortable as a “rule”, is when I have to take my 4 year old kid to the ER with his first asthma attack because everyone ganged up on him and were holding his 4 year old arms behind his 4 year old back before preschool even started. (not the first time I’ve seen this behavior previously letting kids be kids and figure out their own dynamic…against my son)

    Again, I’m all for it. I’m all for the running and the play.
    I want to see my child breathless from joy…not as the unfortunate recipient of pack mentality.

    My son and I are one isolated incident.
    But instead of pushing my will on everyone else, I opted to start arriving to preschool later so he wouldn’t be tempted to be their whipping boy.

    I know I shouldn’t post this. I am not siding with any side here. I’m Switzerland.
    I’m just saying there may be more foresight in this than you may see.

  39. Filioque September 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    My kids’ private school has a reputation for being very strict–and it is, in terms of uniform, behavior codes, etc. But the irony is that the school is much more relaxed when it comes to things like this. Tag is definitely allowed, as is dodgeball and other freerange-friendly recess fun. I hope it’s always that way.

  40. SKL September 2, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    I don’t think I would have recognized the benefits of tag if I didn’t have a kid who avoids movement. This is one of very few things that can get her moving faster than a slow jog. (The other one being Mom pretending to be a monster.)

  41. Papilio September 2, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    But aren’t you afraid that when you pose a LOT of those nonsense-rules on kids (or adults for that matter), you’re basically teaching them that rules are nonsense?
    And if they then decide to rebel (which chance you’ve just increased massively), aren’t you afraid they would not only ignore rule A, B and C, which are nonsense, but also rule D, which makes perfect sense and/or would even be dangerous to ignore?
    That buffer theory only makes sense when you assume that many many kids will rebel anyway, against whatever rule.

  42. Katie September 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    But the nice thing I will say is that if you read the comments on the blog almost everyone things it is ridiculous. Which is why I live living in the urban area of DC. The problem is you often end up with the 1 or 2 freak helicopter parent(s) (easily identifiable by the fact they are driving a giant gas guzzler in the middle of the city) who want to ruin things for everyone and they are usually very loud and very aggressive types. Common in the suburbs, but not so much in the urban areas. You also get teachers and admins to live in the suburbs too where they are constantly exposed to helicopterism and bring their helicopterish ideals to those of us who don’t want them.

  43. Yael September 2, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    I just asked my 8 year old if they are allowed to play tag at school. His answer “yes, why would you think we weren’t?”.

  44. Earth.W September 2, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    Many if not most Australian schools have been things like this game. They call it, Tiggy here now. No wonder our children are now showing crippling diseases no otherwise seen until an adult’s mid-life era at the earliest.

    Adults blames kids for being fat but we don’t let them exercise. So who is really to blame?

  45. Jen (P.) September 3, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    I read a column in the Washington Post this morning (I think it was Richard Cohen’s) drawing a link between Miley Cyrus’s vulgar and demeaning display at the VMA’s and the Steubenville rape (the link being that teen culture is crass, misogynistic, and incredibly stupid). Then I come here and read this and it makes me wonder how kids who are educated in such a politically correct bubble that a simple game of tag is controversial get from there to brutalizing a drunk teenager–and it’s not just the ones who did the actual brutalizing–take a look at the way kids talk about this online. It’s bizarre.

  46. Jen (P.) September 3, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    My kids are still allowed to play tag at school and they play tag-type games in PE all the time. I have noticed in talking to them about some of those PE games that there always seems to be some way for the kids who are eliminated or out or whatever to get back in the game so the rules seem to have changed in that regard.

    My gripe with the school district this year has centered on dress code enforcement.

  47. John September 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    When I went to a Catholic grade school during the 1960s, we kids played a game on the playground during recess called “King of the Mountain”. This was only during the winter months after the back playground parking lot was plowed which of course caused big mountains of snow. The object was to climb to the top of the snow pile and remain there while throwing off all other climbers and the last kid standing at the end of recess was the winner.

    It was harmless but fun falling off the big piles of snow. Yes, it could be humiliating at times if you were an 8th grader and a scrappy little 6th grade boy threw you off the top! (The girls didn’t play this game) But it was fun and nobody got hurt by it.

    I’m sure a game like this would be out of the question in most schools today because of America’s culture of OVERprotecting its youth.

  48. Betsy September 5, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    Don’t waste energy going through the “proper channels” to fight stupid rules. They aren’t interested in reason.

    Just ignore their school code papers.


  49. Sandy Grant September 6, 2013 at 12:54 am #

    I homeschool but I have been told that the local school does not allow running on the playground. If you want to run you can do laps around the edge of the field. After all running on the playground you might run into each other, fall or … you know…WORSE.

  50. Sky September 6, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    My kids just started a new school in a new state. As far as I know, they don’t ban tag. In my old state, however, my daughter came home her first week of Kindergarten and said the principal said they were not permitted to run on the playground. To run. On the playground. (Guess that would include tag! And everything else.) I took it up with the teacher, and she said, “Yeah, that’s the school rule, the principal’s rule. But the teachers don’t really enforce it.”

  51. B September 6, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    How can you enforce robbing kids of their vitality?
    Its impossible, its against their will.
    Kids get sick, kids fall down, kids break bones,
    guess what? they heal, they’re much more resilient.
    I still remember a dodgeball game from elementary school.
    We third graders played with the six graders. The big kids!
    One six grader was left, the other third grader was me.
    It would on and on. All the kids were screaming!
    Finally, he got me with the ball. Our side lost,
    but all the six graders ran over to me. Great job kid!
    Patting me on the back. I still remember that moment.
    of course, you don’t OWN the school, you own your childhood memories that your parents helped shape.
    What are your kids going to remember, a bunch of neurotic adults who wouldn’t let them play?

  52. BL September 6, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    We used to play “Red Rover”. Coed.

    Not likely that would be allowed today.

  53. Katie September 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm #


    I agree, one of the best ways to fight the rules is just to ignore them. If they punish your kid for playing tag, then you reward your kid for playing tag. It’s kind of how life works anyway-you do something and someone won’t like it and they will punish you and someone else will like it and they will reward you.

  54. jzzy55 September 8, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    Truth to be told, I did fracture my kneecap very badly during a game of tag when I was in fourth grade. A girl somewhat lacking in social skills gleefully pushed me down too hard (on someone’s lawn, not at school) and I went splat on my patella. Was not a fan of tag thereafter, but I certainly did not stop my own son from playing tag later. Nor would I want it banned now. Still, it has its risks.

  55. Stacy September 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    Our school does not ban tag but imposes rules on it — only on the grass and only one-hand touch. My older daughter says she and her friends still play tag on the playground equipment but they’re careful…to make sure no teachers are watching. My younger daughter brought home a VERY long list of playground rules that parents were supposed to read and sign, which includes detailed directions on how to use each piece of equipment. She confessed that she already got caught breaking two rules — “No climbing up the slides” and “Slide only on your bottom.” I explained that she had to follow the school rules at school, but at the park she only had to follow my rules.

  56. JP September 10, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    Well – one more way that childhood has become privatized.
    Tag is free…doesn’t cost a cent. No profits there.
    On the other hand – stressed out parents worried about a lack of childhood exercise can always fork out mucho moolah for no end of organized and supervised sporting athletic and physical activities.
    Sad thing. When I was a kid, 99% of all the exercise I ever got was completely and totally UN-supervised…and absolutely free. The cost of one baseball glove, one football, one bike, and assorted cheap hockey sticks covered the other 1%. No fees, surcharges, or expensive equipment required.
    How much exercise did I actually get? 50 years later I can still do many of the same things I did back then, and my waist size has expanded exactly 3 whole entire inches since senior year of high school. (40 some-odd years on…)
    If healthy exercise was the main deal (like it was when I was a kid) school fools would figure out speedy quick what the number one agenda item should really be.
    But like I said – childhood is busy being privatized (and for big profit!) There is no sense atall….but lotsa cents!