Regulating recess

Child’s play is too dangerous for recess, school administrators are deciding. Josh Cohen links to a Sacramento Bee story:

Concerned about safety and injuries and worried about bullying, violence, self-esteem and lawsuits, school officials have clamped down on the traditional games from years past.

Gone from many blacktops are tag, dodgeball and any game involving bodily contact. In are organized relay races and adult-supervised activities.

At one school, children aren’t allowed to push each other on the swings. Administrators worry about “bullying and potential lawsuits from parents.”

Many see the recess restrictions as part of larger cultural shifts. Schools now must craft lesson plans on responsibility, honesty and violence prevention, Maeola Beitzel Principal Judy Hunt-Brown said. And those lessons, among other things, fit neatly into the structured, organized play so prevalent on today’s schoolyard.

“To some degree, the school has needed to take a larger role in teaching children how to play with each other – the whole taking turns, how to deal with conflict,” Hunt-Brown said.

When I was a kid — OK, I’m about the same age as Beaver Cleaver — children worked these things out for ourselves. Of course, we had competent parents who’d taught us self-control and basic good manners.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. I can already smell the coming backlash these kids will exert when they get older.

  2. mike from oregon says:

    Social engineering at it’s finest. We can’t even let kids play now without shoving some kind of lesson down thier throats. Next we’ll work on breathing classes, because the little darlings don’t know how to do that. After that we can do eating classes, everyone holds the fork in your right hand (no, Johnny, that’s your left hand), you all raise it at the same time, take a bite at the same time and we will count to make sure you chew your food 20 times. Is it any wonder I hate public education?

  3. John from OK says:

    Mike from Oregon,
    You are being very right-handed-centric. Didn’t your grade-school recess consultant teach you anything about sensitivity and inclusiveness? I no longer feel welcome at this blog.

  4. Steve LaBonne says:

    Clearly, childhood must be outlawed. It’s far too risky to be allowed to continue.

  5. It gets me that kids aren’t allowed to push each other on the swings. What the heck? If some kid is pushing too hard, I’m sure the other kid will remonstrate (just as if they’re pushing too softly). But I guess the kids will feel bad about their pushing skills. Shee.

  6. Tim from Texas says:

    Tort reform might be the answer here. Could it be that the fear of being sued is gnawing constantly at our social fiber?

  7. TFT: Yes. So I assume you are voting against Kerry and the ambulance chaser?

  8. Tim from Texas says:

    markm, not at all, I have not decided yet. I don’t
    like a lot of what the republicans have done and are doing, and I don’t like a lot of what the democrats have done and what I think they might do. However, I will make a decision and will vote. I used to be strictly a republican, but no more.

  9. When I was in elementary school, fifteen years or so back, kids played a game called ‘Smear the Queer’ at recess. I wonder if they still do.

  10. While I find the idea of a VP from the plaintiffs’ bar abhorrent, nonetheless, since tort law is state law, it’s hard to see how a presidential election has that much potential impact on it except at the margins, primarily with respect to expanding the jurisdiction of the federal courts to deal somewhat with the most egregious extremes of forum-shopping.

  11. Meep: “It gets me that kids aren’t allowed to push each other on the swings. What the heck? If some kid is pushing too hard, I’m sure the other kid will remonstrate (just as if they’re pushing too softly). But I guess the kids will feel bad about their pushing skills. Shee.”

    Actually, our schools have completely removed the swings. Too dangerous. All wooden playsets are being removed, too – I guess they’re afraid the kids are gonna chew on them or something. All the playsets are so safe now that kids won’t play on them. Instead, they climb trees, walk on curbs, play in the drainage ditch, etc, until the school catches them at it. Imagine the horror: kids actually having FUN! STAMP IT OUT NOW!

  12. “When I was in elementary school, fifteen years or so back, kids played a game called ‘Smear the Queer’ at recess. I wonder if they still do.”

    I doubt it. We played “wall ball” and touch football. First they banned wall ball because if you didn’t catch the ball, we would hit you with the ball (but not the girls). Then they banned touch football because it was “aggressive.”

    No fun. 🙁

Trackbacks

  1. Natalie Portman uses the word ‘doody’

    First Up… It’s not like Glenn Reynolds needs any more hits, but this is pretty good. What’s better is what James Joyner, NZ Bear, and especially Chris Lawrence said about it… James Joyner and N.Z. Bear both ponder an alternative…