An Elementary School Banned Students From Playing Tag

kids playing tag

Recess, and what kids are allowed to do during it, is a common talking point, especially during the early month of school. As physical activity for kids during the school day seems to become increasingly more limited, the conversation over what kind of physical activity they can do becomes that much more important. Many parents will argue that kids need to exert as much physical energy as possible during recess because they spend so much time sitting in class. Elementary school kids especially, need to burn some of that restless energy. That's why parents at a South Carolina elementary school are upset of the sudden banning of the game tag during recess.

Tag is probably one of the most universal playground/schoolyard games that have ever existed. It doesn't require any rules, or equipment, and as long as kids can run, they can participate. That means that the kids who aren't necessarily the most athletic/sporty can still feel included. Tag is just a really fun game for kids, especially when there may not be a lot of time to play. A good game of tag can be played for five minutes or five hours because kids always seem to have energy for tag.

Given the ease and popularity of tag, it's understandable that when mom Roxanne Altman learned her daughter's school, Seaside Elementary, was no longer allowing the game, she had concerns. This is especially true because the rule was a completely new rule this school year.  So naturally, Altman took her concerns to the school for an answer. Because this isn't a small policy change; it impacts how children play and spend their free time. The school's new principal, Barbara Ammons cites another school rule as the reason tag has been banned.

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“We have a rule at recess that says ‘Keep your hands, feet, objects and comments to yourself.’ Many times, tag leads to children getting hurt, mad or involved in physical altercations, so we are just being pro-active,” she claims. While she makes good points, there are a lot of activities that happen during school hours that could lead to the same results. So, banning a game that mostly everyone can participate in and that has physical benefits as well seems to be kind of arbitrary, which Altman was quick to point out. She asked her daughter if there was an event like and accident that caused the rule, but there wasn't one.

playing tag
Credit: iStock / dolgachov

“They can still play kickball, basketball, soccer, run around, swing, etc. as long as it doesn’t involve putting your hands on another child,” Ammons added. Even though those activities don't involve hand to hand contact, they still carry the potential for physical harm or hurt feelings. “I can understand if there was an incident, but accidents happen. You could trip in the hall. These are stupid excuses they’re trying to come up with,”  Roxanne Altman said.

She also noted that the rule isn't in the student handbook, and there was no mention of it being enforced. Tag is beneficial to fine motor skills like dodging, stopping and running. Hopefully they come up with a help.

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