FOLSOM, Calif. – A California elementary school banned the childhood game tag on the playground as part of “new procedures at school aimed at reducing physical contact.”
The principal at Gold Ridge Elementary school sent a letter to four parents late last week to inform about warnings and punishment their children received for rough-housing during recess, the Sacramento Bee reports.
“Today we implemented new procedures at school aimed at reducing physical contact and related problem behaviors,” principal David Farkel wrote. “Student(s) were instructed that physical contact, including tag games, touch football, etc. were not allowed in the yard.”
The letter explained the school’s ratcheting discipline system for students who don’t obey, which included a warning and walk with yard supervisors upon a first offense, a referral to the principal’s office for a second offense, and a parent-teacher-principal conference if the problem persists.
“Today your child received a warning for unsafe/physical play (i.e. tag/pushing),” Farkel wrote to the parents. “They walked with the yard supervisor for the remainder of recess.”
“My principal, he doesn’t want us to have tag at school because people, they touch too hard,” fourth-grader Mallory Giddens told CBS Sacramento.
“I don’t really like it,” she said. “I mean I don’t really play tag but I don’t think it’s fair to everyone else that plays tag!”
Sam Hammer, father of two Gold Ridge students, doesn’t like the ban, either.
“I don’t personally agree with it,” he said. “It’s something we all did as kids and I never seen any harm come from it.”
Folsom Cordova Unified School District spokesman Daniel Thigpen defended the ban and said the warnings were only sent to a handful of parents.
“In this case, kids were getting too rough … so the school told them to stop playing those games,” he told CBS Sacramento. “It’s not uncommon for a school to enact specific recess rules to address specific behavior problems.”
Mother of four Katie Esteves said she’s not concerned about her children playing tag, but understands the need to keep kids safe.
“It’s really up to him what he probably feels is best for his school,” she said. “As long as it’s being monitored and people are being safe, then I feel it’s okay.”