N.H. school bans games of tag on playground

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, October 11, 2013

It’s not just hard sporting balls and toy gun key chainsthat are being banned in schools…even games of tag have been forbidden on some playgrounds.

According to The Nashua TelegraphStudents at Charlotte Avenue Elementary School in Nashua, N.H. are no longer allowed to play during recess.

“We want them running, we want them jumping and releasing the energy, but just in a safe way,” Charlotte Avenue Elementary School Principal Patricia Beaulieu said.  

Beaulieu had previously explained her rationale on the school’s Facebook page, stating that the force used in tagging other students often resulted in unnecessary injuries.

“The traditional recess game ‘tag,’ involves one or more players chasing other players in an attempt to ‘tag’ or touch them, usually with their hand,” she wrote on Oct. 4, according to The Washington Times. “Seems innocent enough, however the force with which students ‘tag’ varies greatly, and this game, in particular, has been banned in many schools in the United States due primarily to concerns about injuries.”

Beaulieu told The Telegraph that among the tag-related injuries at Charlotte Avenue Elementary in the past few months were several concussions and a broken wrist; it was these injuries that prompted her to write the letter.

“It’s funny — I went into fifth-grade lunch and I was talking to all the fifth graders, and I said, ‘Raise your hand if you’ve ever been pushed aggressively while playing tag.’ Most of them raised their hands,” she said.

According to Beaulieu, the school’s rules haven’t changed, as there has always been a “no contact” rule in place. By posting the letter, she was merely re-emphasizing the rule to students and parents.

Nashua School District Superintendent Mark Conrad backs up Beaulieu in her decision to ban tag, telling The Telegraph that each school sets their own guidelines for appropriate recess play and that the policies vary at all the district’s schools.

“I think for something like playground games, it’s really up to the discretion of the principal at each school to determine the rules that are appropriate,” he said. “For something like tag, you’re looking at the size of the classes, the physical layout of the school grounds.”

Not everyone’s on board with the new edict, however. Parent Bill Chisholm doesn’t think that the potential for injury is a strong enough reason to ban the game at recess.

“There isn’t a single childhood activity that any kid could participate in that doesn’t have the risk of injury,” he told The Telegraph. “I think we’re just to this point where if one person anywhere has an injury or if one person anywhere is offended, everyone has to stop.”

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