MERCER ISLAND, Wash. – Administrators of the the Mercer Island School District are doing everything they can to protect all the fragile little snowflakes in their care.
That’s why they have banned the game of tag on the playground.
“The Mercer Island School District and school teams have recently revisited expectations for student behavior to address student safety,” district spokeswoman Mary Grady tells Q13 Fox.
“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.”
Parents say they didn’t hear about the ban until their children told them. They were both befuddled and incensed.
“Good grief, our kids need some unstructured playtime,” mother Kelsey Joyce says.
“I totally survived tag,” she adds. “I even survived red rover, believe it or not.”
Melissa Neher, a mother of a student in the district, started a Facebook group to overturn the ban. In less than 24 hours, hundreds of other parents joined, as well.
“I played tag,” she says, “I survived.”
She adds, “This decision needs to be reevaluated with input from the kids and from the community.”
Mercer Island schools aren’t the first to ban having fun.
Weber Middle School in Port Washington, New York instituted a ban on baseballs, footballs, lacrosse balls, cartwheels, tag, or anything else that might cause injury on school grounds, reports CBS 2 reported in 2013.
“Some of these injuries can unintentionally become very serious, so we want to make sure our children have fun, but are also protected,” Superintendent Kathleen Maloney said.
“Cartwheels and tag – I think it’s ridiculous they are banning that,” one student told the news station.
“You go for recess – that’s your free time to get loose and recharge,” another said.
“That’s all we want to do,” a student said in the story. “We’re in school all day sitting behind the desk learning.”
Earlier this year, administrators at Rhode Island’s Cumberland High School ended a squirt gun game known as “Senior Assassin.”
The game is played by kids across the country and the general concept is to stalk fellow players, shoot them without them seeing you, and they’ll be eliminated. The last one standing – or dry – wins.
The game is played off school grounds, but that’s not stopping administrators from trying to end it anyway.
“It is something that the administration does not condone or endorse in any way,” Cumberland High School Principal Alan J. Tenreiro told the Woonsocket Call.
“Given the safety issues and the amount of violence taking place at schools across the country, particularly with guns, Cumberland High School takes the position that the game is inappropriate and we strongly discourage participation.”