A “hands-off” policy implemented at Mercer Island School District created confusion when kids went home and told their parents that they are no longer allowed to play tag during recess. Parents were concerned. Kids need to play outside, especially today when they have the tendency to stay hooked in video games. Some parents were disappointed that they were not consulted before such policy was implemented.
In a statement obtained by Q13 Fox News, the school’s director Mary Grady said the “hands-off” policy is aimed at promoting student safety. “This means while at play, especially during recess and unstructured time, students are expected to keep their hands to themselves,” Grady said.
Speaking with Q13 Fox News, Melissa Neher, the mom who started a Facebook page to inform other parents of the ban on playing tag, said the policy is very untimely given that childhood obesity is rampant nowadays. “Kids should be free to have spontaneous play on the playground at recess. It’s important for their learning,” Neher said. Other parents expressed the same concern.
On Sept. 25, the school decided to reinstate tag in the wakes of criticism it received. “In addition, students may continue to play ‘flag tag’ as they wish. Other respectful games that involve appropriate physical interaction are also encouraged. Our school principals and teachers will work with our students as they imagine and develop new games for play,” the school said in a statement.
The school said each principal will reach out to every parent community and staff to determine whether or not expectations during unstructured playtime are well known and shared. “If changes need to be made, stakeholder input will be sought at each school. In addition, elementary principals will seek student input and feedback on these expectations to demonstrate ownership in their learning,” the school said.