Since when has a game of tag been a threat to children?
Christ The King School, a primary school in Leeds, has banned the game tag. Apparently, this dangerous activity is ruining the children’s clothing and leaving them ‘upset’. The school has even implemented a new set of rules, including ‘keep hands to self’.
Of course, this is not the first school to clamp down on a long-standing children’s game. Three years ago, for instance, a primary school in Bolton banned tag and British bulldog because pupils kept having accidents.
Maybe children in the north just aren’t very good at games. But, either way, I find all of this safeguarding a great shame. It shows how childhood, which should be a free and exploratory time, is now being over-policed. Schools are wrong to assume that banning tag protects children – in fact, it merely encourages risk aversion.
Teachers and regulators forget just how important a few childhood scrapes can be. Falling over doesn’t traumatise children; rather, it helps make them resilient. I don’t know if the teachers at Christ The King have noticed, but children have a remarkable ability to pick themselves up again.
Besides, many children actually enjoy the danger of tag or British bulldog. These are not only games, they are character-building exercises, fostering resilience, competitiveness and a simple love of running around. If children can’t handle tag, something’s gone seriously wrong.
After tag, who knows what will be banned next? Perhaps kiss chase will be deemed a type of sexual harassment. We need to think long and hard about mollycoddling children. Over-protecting children in playgrounds today will leave them ill-equipped to tackle the adult world tomorrow.
Charlotte Gill is a writer and blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @C_C_Gill