Wednesday, October 18, 2006

schools ban tag

this topic is way off my regular routine, but it's just so ridiculous that I can't resist. some schools in the US are banning tag and other "contact sports" during recess. although this story makes me shake my head, I've seen this sort of logic applied to university students - more about that in a second.

first of all, calling tag a "contact sport" is enough to show the lack of logic in these bans. the people responsible say that they have made these decisions in the name of safety. I used to work with young children, and I used to lifeguard. no matter what you do, kids will still fall down and get bumps and bruises. the plain truth is that kids get hurt - they get hurt a lot. BTW - when I was growing up, I saw far more injuries in gym class than I saw during recess.

personally, I agree with the idea that kids need to learn how to play safely together. as Manhattanville College education professor, Rhonda Clements said, through play "They learn to change and to problem-solve." as for the argument that unsupervised kids can't be trusted to resist the temptation to resort to full contact, I have two points to make:

1. my understanding is that all schools have some sort of supervision during recess. so it's not true to say that the children aren't supervised at all. if there are schools out there that have no supervision during recess, then that should be addressed. kids need to be protected from the outside world far more than they need to be protected from one another.

2. if this is really a move to curtail bullying, then it should be dealt with properly. don't punish all of the kids because of the bullies.

now onto the university example. while working at a residence advisor, I was unfortunate enough to be working when the administration decided to enforce a ridiculous student party policy. at the residence in question, party organizers were already obliged to fill out paperwork and ask for permission before they could host a party - after the rule change, things crossed the line of reason. one of the new rules was that no more than 25 people could attend a party at any time. that's 25 people out of a house of about 200 and a residence of over 1100.

the new rules had one effect, the parties moved off residence grounds. and maybe that was the point all along. if the party isn't at the residence, then the administration isn't responsible for what happens there.

in other words, let the kids play somewhere else.

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