School forbids kindergarteners from touching at recess

(By Michael S. Williamson / THE WASHINGTON POST (By Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

Granted the month is still young, but this sounds like it will be high on the list for the month’s dumbest ideas hatched at a school: An elementary school in Canada has decided to forbid kindergarten students from touching each other at recess as a way to prevent injuries from, well, playing. Say goodbye to tag.

CTV News reported that Coghlan Fundamental Elementary School in British Columbia sent out a letter to parents announcing the new policy which was instituted after kids got hurt from playing games and generally being kids at recess. The letter, CTV said, encourages students “to play imaginary games that don’t involve fighting,” and, says:

We will have a zero-tolerance policy with regards to hands-on play, resulting in the missing of playtime and trips to the office for those who are unable to follow the rules.

One mother who received the letter, Julie Chen, was quoted as saying:

I can’t imagine little kids not being able to hug each other or help each other on the playground. No tag, no hugging, no touching at all.

Exactly how the rules will be enforced is left to our imagination. Will there be an army of adults watching the hands of every kindergartener? What will happen to repeat offenders?

Here’s the real question: How long will it take for someone in charge to haul in the people who made this decision and ask them what they were thinking?

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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