TAG HAS BEEN REINSTATED!
HERE’S A NOTE FROM THE SCHOOL DISTRICT ON ITS WEBSITE!
District responds to concerns about tag
September 25, 2015 – The ‘hands-off’ policy intended for unstructured play and recess however well intended, has led to confusion, false reporting and is clearly not supported by many staff and many parents. Although the plan was focused on keeping students safe, it lacked stakeholder participation and support. The expectations for student behavior both in and out of our classrooms can be found in the published Students Rights and Responsibilities. Playground rules and expectations can also be found in each school’s handbook.
Tag as we know it and have known it is reinstated. In addition, students may continue to play “flag tag” as they wish. Other respectful games that involve appropriate physical interaction are also encouraged. Our school principals and teachers will work with our students as they imagine and develop new games for play.
Each school principal will reach out to his/her parent community and staff to determine whether or not expectations during unstructured playtime are well known and shared. If changes need to be made, stakeholder input will be sought at each school. In addition, elementary principals will seek student input and feedback on these expectations to demonstrate ownership in their learning.
Yes, we are a learning organization, too.
The Mercer Island School District outside of Seattle has banned tag because it is too emotionally and physically dangerous to kids.
In fact, it has banned all games in which kids do not “keep their hands to themselves.” In an email note to Q13Fox TV, the district’s communications director, Mary Grady, wrote:
“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.”
Maybe it’s time for the district to give its own brains a break. If tag is so dangerous for mind and body, we have certainly been slow to recognize its menace. An analysis of the Pieter Brueghel painting, “Children’s Games” shows Dutch kids playing about 90 different games, among them: Tag.
Date of painting: 1560.
So once again we have an age-old childhood tradition that is suddenly too dangerous for THIS generation of kids in THIS country. How can it be that for 450+ years (and possibly since the beginning of time), kids played this very same game, but this generation is too fragile to handle it?
Because, as psychologist and author Peter Gray so often reminds us: There is no other era that has ever so underestimated children.
What’s more, our rule-makers do it with a condescending smile that says it is for the sweet children’s sake that we treat them like bonsai trees — delicate, beloved, in need of constant attention…
Stunting has become the job of many bureaucrats, making sure kids don’t get a chance to develop the physical and emotional skills they need — by protecting them from the physical and emotional “dangers” they hallucinate everywhere. Even in tag. – L