What atrocities are elementary kids in Michigan getting into these days? Well, the unspeakable acts of playing a game of tag, coupled with the inexcusable decisions some of the mutinous children make to run around, in groups no less. Their malevolent behavior will no longer be tolerated, reports MSN Now on Oct. 5, and the outlaw on something so seemingly innocuous and typical for any child is getting some national attention this week.
New Groningen kindergarten teachers in Grand Rapids, Michigan sent home a letter to parents recently that explained that there will be a prohibition on "tag" and any other "chase oriented" games. So, for the record, I suppose that would make Duck-Duck-Goose, Hide and Seek (the proper game with the hiders running back to home base), What Time Is It Mr. Wolf and every other game besides Chess a direct violation of the new standard.
The letter described the problem of children, “running in packs, pushing, knocking other children over, and making the game dangerous,” and as you can imagine, left parents middling somewhere between confused and appalled.
So, another letter came home the next day, attempting to explain the first letter.
“We want our children to treat each other with respect, kindness, and with safety in mind,” said Ginger Smith, community relations manager for Zeeland Public Schools, in the follow-up letter.
“Our concerns are based out of care and safety for each child,” the letter explained. “Yesterday we took the entire kindergarten group and modeled the correct expectations for appropriate recess behavior and demonstrated examples of safe, fun play.”
I wish I could have seen this demo. Evidently the class took a field trip to a retirement home so that the children could watch the elderly sit outside and play Connect Four.
Teachers said that children were getting “hurt daily” during rough play and games of “push-tag.” Perhaps saying no to tag was appropriate, but to go through the formality of sending a letter that outlaws “running in packs” seems a tad overstated.
“All students at New Groningen are expected to treat others with respect and kindness,” according to the kindergarten team letter. “When a negative behavior is recognized, the staff handles each situation with care and concern.”