Tag is unsafe, school tells kids

Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Pieter Bruegel painted Children’s Games in 1560

Children have played tag for centuries, writes Lenore Skenazy on Reason‘s Hit & Run. It’s never been considered a dangerous game.

Tag — and other games in which children do not “keep their hands to themselves” —  have been banned by the Mercer Island School District near Seattle. The ban will protect the “physical and emotional safety” of students, wrote Mary Grady, the district’s communications director, in an email note to Q13Fox TV

I guess holding hands for Ring Around the Rosy also is verboten under the touching-is-dangerous rule.

Children have been playing tag since the time of Breugel — and possibly since the dawn of time — Skenazy writes. But today’s kids are too fragile?

Melissa Neher, the mother of two schoolchildren, started a Facebook campaign to alert parents to the ban.

“Kids should be free to have spontaneous play on the playground at recess,” she told Fox TV.  “I played tag” as a child. “I survived.”

Another mother brags she survived Red Rover. That was one of my favorites.

Parents, let your kids fail

Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail, writes Jessica Lahey in The Atlantic.

Thirteen years ago, when I was a relatively new teacher, stumbling around my classroom on wobbly legs, I had to call a students’ mother to inform her that I would be initiating disciplinary proceedings against her daughter for plagiarism, and that furthermore, her daughter would receive a zero for the plagiarized paper.

“You can’t do that. She didn’t do anything wrong,” the mother informed me, enraged.

“But she did. I was able to find entire paragraphs lifted off of web sites,” I stammered.

“No, I mean she didn’t do it. I did. I wrote her paper.”

Overprotective parents are raising their children without “the emotional resources they will need to cope with inevitable setback and failure,” writes Lahey.

It’s hard to teach children who’ve been shielded from frustration and failure. Kids can’t learn from their mistakes if their parents never let them make any.

. . . teachers don’t just teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. We teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint, and foresight. These skills may not get assessed on standardized testing, but as children plot their journey into adulthood, they are, by far, the most important life skills I teach.

Her students who are “happiest and successful in their lives” are the ones  who were “allowed to fail, held responsible for missteps, and challenged to be the best people they could be in the face of their mistakes.”