UK: School Bans Tag for Being “Too Rough”

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A headteacher of a Brighton school has banned tag and other popular playground games for being “too rough” under her new “Gentle Hands” policy.

Branded “Britain’s biggest snowflake,” Joanne Smith, the headteacher of Rudyard Kipling school in Brighton, announced the new policy, where children would be encouraged to hold hands or clap instead of playing more traditional games like tag or British Bulldog, which involve contact.

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Many parents were not impressed with the new policy, with many complaining that the children would be bored at playtime when it goes into effect. One mother described it as “completely backwards.” “Sometimes, I don’t even know what planet Brighton is on,” she said. “They’re banning children from playing tag – why on earth would anyone thing tag is a bad thing? I’m going to teach my son about another game instead, that’ll really scare the snowflake headteacher – kiss-chase.”

Another parent said that Rudyard Kipling, the British author who the school is named after, “would be turning in his grave knowing that Britain’s biggest snowflake is running his school. Can’t play conkers, can’t play tag – no wonder children are turning to crime – there’s nothing else for them to do.” An additional parent said the school has “gone about this completely the wrong way. To say kids can’t touch each other with their hands is why we have a snowflake generation. We are saying to our children that they are not allowed to do anything.”

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Smith clarified that the new policy did not ban touching at all:

The children are of course allowed to hold hands or play clapping games with a friend should they wish to. “Gentle Hands” simply means playing games outside that do not need to be physical. This will ensure the playground is a happy, safe and calm place where everyone can enjoy their lunchtime running around and getting the exercise we know is important to them.

A spokesman for school also defended the “Gentle Hands” policy and the banning of tag:

We want to make sure the playground is a happy, safe and calm place where everyone can enjoy their lunchtime running around and getting the exercise we know is important to them. With the full support of our staff and our Parents Teachers and Friends Association, we have reminded the children of our “Gentle Hands” rule during break and lunchtimes. This is because last half term we had a few incidents involving rough play and play fighting that were causing children to get upset. “Gentle Hands” simply means playing games outside that do not need to be overly physical and risk hurting or upsetting other children.

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