School District Bans Tag As Part Of New ‘Hands Off’ Policy
I am a tag survivor.
When I was growing up, they still allowed the game of tag in schools. That was years and miles away, but the scars are still fresh: the feeling of terror as I was being stalked on the playground, running for my life. And then the hand of some strange kid touching me on the shoulder, perhaps pushing a bit too hard, or maybe even slapping me on the back. I had trouble convincing my parents that I had been assaulted, because by the time I got home the light pink mark had totally disappeared. But the trauma was real.
I used to lie awake at night, shaking, and the dream was always the same. I was running, my feet churning and my breath panicked and short. But though my feet were moving, I wasn't getting anywhere. I was running in place, until all at once the sun was blotted out by the shadow of a giant hand. Crows gathered on the jungle gym and a cold wind swept through the playground, and the hand was closing in, like a fisherman's black net, and suddenly I was enveloped in fear, perspiration and failure.
I was "it."
Today the memories cascaded back as I read this story from Washington state: The Mercer Island School District has banned tag from its playgrounds. Huffington Post:
Superintendent Gary Plano brought up the backlash to the new "hands-off" rule at a school board meeting Thursday, according to the Mercer Island Reporter.
"It's regretful that what seemed to be a well-intentioned desire to help protect kids has taken a life of its own," said Plano, announcing that he would form a committee that would gather parents' feedback.
In 2013, New Hampshire elementary school officials received similar criticisms when they banned tag, arguing that kids were "tagging" each other with too much force and running around without looking where they were going.
Perhaps just as absurd was the parents' reaction: they created a Facebook page called STAR MI (Support Tag At Recess). It now has 417 members.
"Good grief, our kids need some unstructured playtime," Kelsey Joyce told Q13Fox. Melissa Neher said, "I played tag. I survived." Still another parent noted that now her son walks around chatting about video games during recess, rather than getting more vigorous exercise.
Perhaps. But what people don't realize is that tag is a gateway drug. It can lead to Red Rover, Smear the Queer, Red Light/Green Light and, in severe cases, Capture the Flag.
Don't let this happen to your child. Life is hard enough: no one wants to end the school day with the stigma and humiliation being "it." Especially if it's a Friday.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.