Culture Grip – Fall 2015
The road to playground hell is paved with good intentions
September 23, 2015, is a day that will live on in the memories of Mercer Island school children. It’s the day tag was banned. Mercer Island School District Communications Director Mary Grady explained the district’s decision to local news station Q13Fox: “The Mercer Island School District and school teams have recently revisited expectations for student behavior to address student safety. This means while at play, especially during recess and unstructured time, students are expected to keep their hands to themselves.“ Apparently, public outcry and alleged scoffing from both in and outside the district prompted officials to allow the game once again. Perhaps testimonials, such as the following from parent Kelsey Joyce to Q13Fox, helped to assuage their fears: “I totally survived tag. I even survived Red Rover, believe it or not.”
Banned: guns and rings of power
Earlier this year, nine-year-old Aiden Stewart told one of his classmates that he had the “one ring” and with it could make his friend disappear. Apparently, Aiden had recently enjoyed the film The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies. Kermit Elementary School officials interpreted this as a threat and suspended him. “[He] didn’t mean anything by it,” Aiden’s father told the New York Daily News. “Kids act out movies that they see. When I watched Superman as a kid, I went outside and tried to fly … I assure you my son lacks the magical powers necessary to threaten his friend’s existence. If he did, I’m sure he’d bring him right back.”
A better way to make children magically disappear
Classical Christian schools take a different tack. Rather than ban proven playground favorites or imaginative children, our schools typically see the playground as a training ground. The virtues of temperance and prudence make student fun more fun—tag and dodgeball included. And, you might find a teacher or two who play along, especially when Lord of the Rings is involved. We’ve heard that a few of our teachers have “made children magically disappear” into the world of books.
Photo Courtesy of Amador Hometown Media.