Ban on tag, other activities makes anti-obesity effort ring hollow
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
An elementary school in Massachusetts has joined several others around the nation in banning its pupils from playing tag, touch football or any other activity involving physical contact during recess.
Reportedly, the fear of injury (and, implicitly, the legal liability that would impose on the school systems) is the reason for the ban. The school’s concerns may be real enough, but they nonetheless comprise a sad commentary on our society — and our efforts to combat obesity in children.
It’s hard to ban exercise on the one hand and complain about overweight kids on the other, but that’s just exactly what this decision has accomplished.
Along with this school in Attleboro, Mass., schools in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Spokane, Wash., have recently banned tag at recess. A school in suburban Charleston, S.C., has also banned all unsupervised contact sports.
The ban on tag and other activities follows a widely imposed ban a few years ago on dodgeball, which administrators not only feared carried physical risks, but could lead to hurt feelings if some kids were singled out as targets.