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Wash. School District Says Tag Won't Be Banned At Recess

The Mercer Island School District faced national backlash after enforcing a "hands off" policy that banned tag on elementary school playgrounds.
Posted at 1:14 PM, Sep 27, 2015

A Washington state school district that faced national backlash for banning tag during recess has now lifted the ban. 

The game was reportedly banned last week on elementary school playgrounds in Mercer Island in an effort to prevent physical and emotional harm. 

The district's superintendent said in a message, "unstructured play deteriorated into name-calling, fighting and injury" during isolated incidents last year. He also said that while tag was not formally banned, the district was implementing a new "hands off" policy at recess.

But parents say the kids were specifically told not to play tag. KCPQ reported parents weren't consulted about the new policy, and many felt the school's good intentions were misplaced. 

"In this day and age of childhood obesity, there's a need for more activity," a parent told KCPQ. 

Parents told several outlets their children stopped exercising at recess once the ban started. Many also said they felt that getting hurt was just part of being a kid.

As one parent told the Seattle Times, “To be honest, kids get hurt on the playground. It’s an unfortunate part of life, but part of learning and growing.”

It's worth nothing that the President's Council on Fitness says more than 80 percent of adolescents don't get enough aerobic exercise. So at that age, many say letting children play tag might be worth it if it's gets them moving.

In a separate statement released Friday, school officials said they encourage any games that involve "appropriate physical interaction" and that "tag as we know it and have known it is reinstated."

This video includes images from Vicki C / CC BY 2.0.