More schools banning "dangerous" games at recess

Like tag.

Published June 28, 2006 7:25PM (EDT)

The grown-ups are really losing it. Rather than fighting true threats to children -- high fructose corn syrup, poverty, whatnot -- they are, more and more, outlawing as "dangerous" recess games such as soccer. And tag. Dodgeball, I can see. But tag? Tag?

"In January, Freedom Elementary School in Cheyenne prohibited tag at recess because," as principal Cindy Farwell told USA Today, it "progresses easily into slapping and hitting and pushing instead of just touching."

Elsewhere, contact sports were banned at recess "because children suffered broken arms and dislocated fingers playing touch football and soccer."

I don't know if this is really about mollycoddled kids, or scary lawyer parents, or scary-lawyer mollycoddling parents, but it sure sounds like a terrible idea to me. Even if kids are still allowed to play four-square or Mother May I. According to USA Today, "the bans were passed in the name of safety, but some children's health advocates say limiting exercise and free play can inhibit a child's development." You think? Critics note, too, that supervised play of such games in gym class -- referring, of course, to schools that still have recess and gym class -- doesn't give kids the same practice in learning team play and problem-solving they get from "free play."

Also? They're kids. Skinning their knees is their job. If I were a parent in one of these districts, speaking of knees, I'm betting I'd feel like breaking some.

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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