October 9 2013
Vicki E. Alger
It’s bad enough that school children are subjected to crummy government lunches in the name of eating “healthy.” Now one Long Island school district is banning basic recess fun under the guise of keeping kids “safe” at school.
Port Washington schools Superintendent Kathleen Maloney said that in response to a “rash” of playground injuries, footballs, cartwheels, and tag are now on her district’s list of no-no’s. In a district press release, Maloney explained that because of ongoing construction and limited space, it’s not safe for students to “be engaged in unstructured play with hardballs” during the 20-minute recess period. Instead, district schools will provide soft Nerf balls for students.
But this ban begs some larger questions. First, the district is all but admitting that ongoing adult supervision during recess must be pretty lax already. Why don’t the schools have a list of teachers and/or parent volunteers doing recess duty? That’s how we did it years ago when people my age were in school.
And what about this ongoing construction? Construction projects are typically planned months if not years in advance. Couldn’t this one be completed during the summer months if it’s so expansive as to take away students’ play areas? Alternatively, the site should be properly fenced off so construction could occur during non-school hours (I’m sure the various unions involved would be more than willing to make off-hour accommodations since schoolchildren are involved, right?).
No one wants children exposed to unnecessary risks—say to an ill-planned or secured construction site on the playground.
But here’s the largest issue of all concerning childsplay bans like the one in Long Island: Life’s tough, and we don’t do children any favors by pretending otherwise. In fact, the playground is one of the earliest occasions for children to confront adversities and learn to overcome them.
Kids who are not allowed to be kids and learn to handle challenges grow up to be dependent adults.
This failure helps explain why womb-to-tomb government services seem to be gaining more traction every day. Don’t believe me?
Consider that in most cases we rely on government to feed our kids in school. We leave it to schools to teach our kids the scary stuff that makes us uncomfortable—whether that be algebra, the birds and the bees, or driving. Such abdication is passed on to children and lasts far beyond high school.
Many eighteen-year-olds, who are considered legal adults, insist that they are all grown up yet believe a college education is an entitlement that someone else owes them—not something they earn.
Meanwhile, under ObamaCare these same young adults are now allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26 years old.
Ultimately, they’ll likely live to a ripe old age with their children and grandchildren's generations subsidizing their healthcare and retirement.
The last thing we should be doing is keeping kids in bubble-wrap cocoons well beyond adulthood.
I’d much rather children come home with a few scrapes and bruises (or worse injuries if you grew up around horses like I did), than be sentenced to a life of dependency.