TORONTO, Canada – The classic playground game “tag” is too dangerous, Toronto school officials believe, so they banned it at a local Catholic elementary.
The decision comes amid a “series of incidents” involving student injuries at St. Luke Catholic School in recent weeks and follows similar bans on balls, and cartwheels, and snowballs, and other activities deemed “dangerous” by school officials throughout the city in recent years, The Toronto Star reports.
“The game of tag they were playing was getting overly physical and rough,” Toronto Catholic District School Board spokesman John Yan said. Students pushed, punched and tackled each other, he said.
“They were not watching, they were blindly running over (other) kids,” Yan said.
“On Tuesday, St. Luke students were allowed to start playing ‘ball tag’ using a soft ball, and they’ve always been permitted to play soccer — but now, all but Grade 7 and 8 students must use a soft rubber ball, to lessen injuries should someone get hit,” according to the Star.
The school is also partnering with the Toronto Public Health department’s Physical Activity Leaders in Schools (PALS) program, to “train teachers about playground safety strategies” that will be passed on to older students tasked with policing the playground, CTVnews reports.
PALS health promotion specialist Mary Louise Yarema told the Star public health officials could work with St. Luke to adapt tag to the schools small, .74 acre playground “so you’re not going to do it at a running pace, but a walking pace.”
School board trustee Jo-Ann Davis claimed in an email to the Star that “nothing is banned” at the school, it’s just that “the principal is doing the very responsible thing of reviewing things and resetting boundaries to ensure no one else gets hurt.”
“It is their role to ensure safety, so if an activity is thought unsafe they may review before allowing it again,” she said.
Dozens of parents and others sounded off on the new policy online, with most blaming the situation on a combination of helicopter parents and overly sensitive or inept school officials.
“Let’s just put them all in a bubble filled with Styrofoam beads. That’ll keep them all safe,” commenter chrismack posted to the Star.
“I have an idea. Make the child/parents responsible for the child’s actions,” TSI123 posted. “Imagine a child being held responsible for their own actions! I know, the school probably doesn’t want to deal with parents blaming everybody else but themselves for their children’s behavior. Back in the day kids, just the threat of calling the principal’s office or your parents was enough to instantly draw tears.
“Instead of throwing your kids an iPad, throw them some discipline and responsibility,” TSI123 added.
OMG. Children suffered bruises and scrapes. What is wrong with our society?? Children are supposed to get bruises, scrapes, sprains and yes, even broken bones. Some of todays parents and people dictating these policies make me sick to my stoma
“OMG. Children suffered bruises and scrapes. What is wrong with our society? Children are supposed to get bruises, scrapes, sprains and yes, even broken bones. Some of today’s parents and people dictating these policies make me sick to my stomach,” Kathleen posted to CTVnews.
“What is it with all of this wrapping children in cotton? We always had scrapes and bruises from playing tag, dodge ball and other such games. Of course, our teachers also supervised us and tended to make sure things did not get too much out of hand,” Gundula Baehre wrote.
“Let the kids get obese, which will let them play more with their iPads and cell phones,” travlerhr added, “PRICELESS.”