The obligatory "school cancels tag because kids are getting hurt" post

Obligatory because it’s one of those stories that no one cares about on the merits but which encapsulates the conservative and liberal worldviews so perfectly that it’d almost be cruel to deny blog readers the chance to rant about it. Rugged individualism vs. nanny statism, played out on a canvas of the most innocent of childhood pastimes. Should they ban it outright? Regulate it with new rules? Or go the libertarian route and let these kids experience recess red in tooth and claw? That scraped knee isn’t an injury, son; it’s a badge of freedom.

Robyn Hooker, principal of Kent Gardens Elementary School, has told students they may no longer play tag during recess after determining that the game of chasing, dodging and yelling “You’re it!” had gotten out of hand. Hooker explained to parents in a letter this month that tag had become a game “of intense aggression.”

“We are regulating the fun out of normal childhood activity,” said Jan van Tol, father of a Kent Gardens sixth-grader. “In our effort to be so overprotective, we are not letting children be children.”

Gerri Swarm, secretary of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association, said she was glad the principal was taking seriously student concerns about being pushed or shoved. “In this day and age, you can’t dismiss this as something not to worry about,” she said…

“This is not the old-fashioned tag, where you could use two fingers and you would be it and move on to someone else,” Hooker said. The game, she said, has become much more aggressive. “I call it the nouveau tag.” [The French is for extra gravitas. — ed.]

This tag involves grabbing people who do not necessarily know they are playing and possibly bumping them to the ground. “Then the kids do ‘pyramiding’ or ‘towering.’ They pile on each other. [Sometimes] they call it ‘jailhouse’ or ‘jailbreak,’ ” because the child has to break out, she said.

Follow the link for the predictable quotes about the school’s competing missions to protect Our Children and prepare them for the harsh realities of life. Exit question: The kids aren’t allowed to break dance either? What kind of school is this?