Banning running: the playground killjoys strike again

A group of parents in Cornwall has launched a petition to overturn a ban on kids running in the playground at a local primary school. Good on them.

The headmaster of Hillfort Primary School in Liskeard, Dr Tim Cook, introduced the ban to prevent the little blighters injuring themselves. Instead, kids at Hillfort can blow off steam at playtime by playing with Lego, Jenga, and even dancing, as part of the school’s plan to reduce ‘negative behaviours’.

Cook has responded by reassuring parents that their children are not completely prohibited from running – they are just not allowed to run across the playground. Have the nippers been given a small area to run around instead? Getting dizzier and dizzier as they charge about in circles?

Cook, let them run free for God’s sake. They’re kids. If they like running, let them run, especially in the playground. Isn’t that what playgrounds are for? How will kids play Tig, or Stuck in the Mud, or whatever it is they play these days, without running?

Arguing that the ban is for safety reasons is pathetic. It’s running, not sword-swallowing. Grazed knees are part of growing up, and do not, or at least should not, result in lawsuits.

So let kids run if they want, and, while you’re at it, bring back British Bulldog. You can call it Multicultural Mastiff if it makes you feel more comfortable. We must let kids be kids, we shouldn’t force them to spend the little free time they have with their mates being safe, rather than having fun.

Guy Birchall is a writer based in London.

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