Earlier this month, administrators at Mercer Island School District in Washington State felt compelled to do something for their children this year by banning the playground game of tag, because it just might make some kids feel bad, they said.
In a letter home to parents, Mercer Island School District communications director Mary Grady insisted that, from now on, kids would be ordered to “keep their hands to themselves,” and tag would be banned “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,” Grady concluded.
Needless to say, many parents were flabbergasted by the extreme response to the venerable schoolyard game.
One mother of a preteen, Kelsey Joyce, told Fox News that the school district’s move was absurd.
“Good grief, our kids need some unstructured playtime,” she said.
Several other parents noted that they all played tag as kids and they survived childhood just fine.
In short order, the parents started to get organized against the ban. Parent Melissa Neher even started a Facebook page to get parents organized.
To the delight of parents, by Friday, Sept. 25, the scrutiny brought the school district to a decision to end the ban.
“Tag, as we know it and have known it, is reinstated,” the district told parents on Friday.
“The new expectation was made with the best of intentions,” Superintendent Gary Plano insisted. “Our hope has always been and continues to be an expectation that students respect others’ personal space and respect their individual and unique differences.”
Still, district officials justified their original decision, saying that last year there were incidents during “unstructured play” where situations “deteriorated into name-calling, fighting and injury.”
Officials said they had hoped to head off such situations in the future by banning tag.
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