The head teacher of a London primary school has banned pupils from “touching” the snow because he is fearful of parents suing and of children being too cold to work.
Ges Smith, of the Jo Richardson Community School in Dagenham, east London, claimed that playing with snow could distract children and injuries could prompt damaging lawsuits.
He told Piers Morgan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday: “We do simple rules, applied easily. The rules are don’t touch the snow. If you don’t touch the snow you’re not going to throw it.
“The problem is it only takes one stone, one piece of grit in a snowball in an eye… [and] the first thing that happens is a parent is on that phone to that company to make that claim and I’m responsible.”
He added that it was “also about being fit for work. If your hands are cold you’re not ready. If the last thing you do is have a snowball in your face you’re not ready for school.”
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) February 27, 2018
Mr. Morgan, who is frequently outspoken, responded by comparing the school to a “prison camp” after branding the teacher a “killjoy”.
“Kids love snow,” he said. “We only get snow, what – three, four days of the year?”
The general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, agreed.
“Playing with snowballs is a part of childhood, even though it can be dangerous,” he commented. “I always thought it was a great opportunity for children who don’t see that much snow to have fun.
“It gives them a chance to experience what lots of us remember from our own childhoods,” Mr. Barton added.
The great snowball debate – my comments based on being a head: “We had a large playing field where pupils could throw snowballs, away from the school, buildings and cars. But different rules may apply in schools with less space” https://t.co/kVwpicFGXM pic.twitter.com/1EeTdlQqfE
— Geoff Barton (@RealGeoffBarton) February 28, 2018
Many users of Twitter and other social media platforms were also largely unimpressed. Clare Bergner sarcastically remarked: “[Oh my god] how did we kids of the 70’s survive childhood.”
Debbie Stone added: “God knows I can remember when school playtime used to be fun, Conkers, marbles, skipping, French skipping, kiss chase, British bull dogs, leap frog, two ball. No wonder our kids are becoming hooked on gaming.
“Health and safety has just gone too far now. I remember the climbing frame with concrete under it.”
Jammer Stanley blasted: “This guy’s talking nonsense. We get snow once in a blue moon let the CHILDREN enjoy it.”