Banning Tag

by Bernard De Koven on June 13, 2002

There was a story in the LA TImes about a principal banning the game of Tag.

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“This is all based on safety,” said (principal) Samarge, also in her third year as school principal. “It has nothing to do with anything else except to reduce injuries for the kids.”

But there was that statement in the school newsletter that seemed to trigger the debate. In the third paragraph of an article titled “Safety on the Playground,” the piece reads: “The running part of this activity is healthy and encouraged; however, in this game, there is a ‘victim’ or ‘It,’ which creates a self-esteem issue. The oldest or biggest child usually dominates.”

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Oh, the humanity!

Here’s a mother’s response from the same story:

“Take it from someone who was teased mercilessly about her name, was overweight as a child and low on everybody’s birthday invite list–I would have given my eyeteeth to be included in a game of tag. It or not It, being included with a group of kids in a playground game would have been heaven.” The ban has been the focus of at least one radio talk show in which callers blasted Samarge’s decision for about an hour. The idea that being “it,” the one player everyone runs from to avoid being tagged and becoming the next “it,” somehow damages a child’s self-esteem struck many listeners as preposterous.”


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