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Posted: 8/22/2004 5:24:18 PM EDT
And the pussification of America continues at Warp speed.

We really are doomed, aren't we?


Recess gets regulated
Worried about safety, schools restrict traditional games

By Sandy Louey -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PDT Sunday, August 22, 2004

During recess at Woodridge Elementary School, a girl walked up to the foursquare court, wanting to join the game.

"You want to play," Briauna Ford, a sixth-grader, told her. "You got to read the rules."

Eight rules for Switched, a game Briauna and her friends made up, were scrawled on a piece of notebook paper: Rule No. 2: "You must say 'switch, switch' two times to begin the game." Rule No. 6: "Make right choices no yelling."

Briauna and her friends drew up the regulations so the game wouldn't end up in shouting matches and hurt feelings - which could get Switched tossed off the playground in the Rio Linda Union School District.

Recess may be child's play, but it's serious business to adults. Dodgeball has spawned a hit summer movie and a TV game show. But as school doors begin to open again around the Sacramento region, kids thumping each other with a large inflated rubber ball isn't something you are likely to see on school playgrounds.

Concerned about safety and injuries and worried about bullying, violence, self-esteem and lawsuits, school officials have clamped down on the traditional games from years past.

Gone from many blacktops are tag, dodgeball and any game involving bodily contact. In are organized relay races and adult-supervised activities.

"It's fun stuff," said Azia Orum, a Rio Linda sixth-grader. "We just can't do it. People get hurt."

The restrictions trouble some early-childhood experts and parents. Recess is usually the only part of the school day where kids can do what they want. Experts say free play helps kids learn how to cooperate, socialize and work out conflicts.

"We ask kids to work hard," said Roberta Raymond, principal at Woodridge. "They need frequent breaks to give their minds a rest."

What games students can - or can't - play at recess varies. Each school tailors the rules to its own needs.

Growing enrollments in some districts make firm rules all the more important, educators say, though kids at lunch or recess are always difficult to monitor.

Maeola Beitzel Elementary School in the Elk Grove Unified School District has about 1,200 students, while Natomas Park Elementary School in the Natomas Unified School District has about 1,100 students. Both are year-round schools, with at least 800 enrolled at any one time.

At Natomas Park, that means three recesses in the morning and two in the afternoon, along with five lunches for grades one to five. Up to six yard-duty supervisors roam during lunch.

Games where kids chase each other - tag or even cops and robbers - are generally banned in Natomas Unified's elementary schools. No grabbing or pushing is allowed.

At Natomas Park, students can only toss and catch a football - tackling or blocking isn't permitted. But the no-contact rule applies beyond the grade-school gridiron.

During lunch recess one recent afternoon, yard supervisor Janice Hudson spotted a first-grader pushing a girl on the swing.

"Do not push," Hudson told the student. "Let her push herself, please."

"One person can be a little stronger than the other," she said as she walked away.

During second-grade lunch, Hudson set up relay races so students could run within the rules. The whistle blew and the racers took off, dashing down the five lanes. A crowd screamed "Go! Go!" Each of the more than 30 students got a chance to run.

Natomas Park administrators say physical safety was the main reason they instituted restrictions. But they admit to worrying about bullying and potential lawsuits from parents.

At Maeola Beitzel Elementary, Janis Mayse, the mother of a fifth-grader, doesn't think the fun is worth it if a game is played to the detriment of another child.

"All of us want to hang on to the games we played as kids," she said, "but we have to keep an open mind that there are games that kids can get a benefit from without hurting one another."

Many see the recess restrictions as part of larger cultural shifts. Schools now must craft lesson plans on responsibility, honesty and violence prevention, Maeola Beitzel Principal Judy Hunt-Brown said. And those lessons, among other things, fit neatly into the structured, organized play so prevalent on today's schoolyard.

"To some degree, the school has needed to take a larger role in teaching children how to play with each other - the whole taking turns, how to deal with conflict," Hunt-Brown said.

Tightened restrictions on playgrounds are part of the growing trend to more strictly control what happens during the school day. Child behavior experts are concerned that strict rules for play threaten to straitjacket students' creativity.

Recess is supposed to be spontaneous play. The unstructured time helps fuel the imagination, said Dolores Stegelin, associate professor of early childhood education at Clemson University.

"It encourages creativity. It strengthens social development when they can be creative and plan something together and set up their own rules. It allows for leadership," said Stegelin, a member of the Association for the Study of Play. "Adults need to be there, but there needs to be more time for kids to be innovative and do their own activity."

Dodgeball teaches students eye-hand coordination and gross motor skills. Getting singled out and eliminated from competition is part of life, said Tom Reed, professor of early childhood education at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg.

"Life is not always fair," said Reed, also a member of the Association for the Study of Play. "You don't get what you want. Things like this are learned on the playground."

That's what worries Kellie Randle. A former teacher and a parent of a student at Joseph Sims Elementary School in Elk Grove, Randle believes kids aren't as creative as they once were.

"I'm concerned about the direction of a society where kids are encouraged not to run and play," she said. "If you take away running, freeze tag and red light, green light, you're taking away a big part of childhood."

At Woodridge, the bell signaling the end of summer school recess rang. The Switched players got ready to return to class.

Rule No. 5: If two people get a corner, choose a number between one and 20. The person who is closest gets the corner.

Rule No. 8: If you make bad choices, you must leave the game.

"It went better today with the rules," said 11-year-old Erma Murphy. Her friends nodded in agreement.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 5:31:43 PM EDT
Yeah thats why kids are wussy lard asses. Good thing I am not a child now or I would be medicated and instutionalized. I hope I can home school my children.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 5:35:52 PM EDT

Liberal educators / administrators = fifth column

Link Posted: 8/22/2004 5:38:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/22/2004 5:39:30 PM EDT by macro]
It would appear to me that the schools today arent interested in preparing children for the real world they eventually need to face. This "anti-competition" ideology that is so popular lately will continue to nuture the socialist parents that arent interested in competing with others. I see two basic schools of thought here.....teach your kids that most people want the best things in life, and that is why we need to do the best we can to achieve our goals (hint - capitalism)....or... tell kids that we should make every attemt to make everything equal, and level the playing field at every opportunity so that those less capable have the same chances as ourselves (hint - socialism)

As far as I'm concerned, the writing is on the wall.
I feel really sorry for the kids that are going throug primary school now...gone unchecked, they are in for quite a surprise when they hit the job market in 10 or 15 years.

Link Posted: 8/22/2004 5:47:56 PM EDT
That was the way my elementary school was about 10 years ago. We had a 'no-touch' rule. No football (not even two-touch), no tag, no dodgeball, no soccer, no tetherball, no pretending to shoot guns at each other, etc. If you violated the rule, you sat out recess. Repeat offenders had their parents called. Pussification at it's worst.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 5:57:14 PM EDT
Well, back in MY day we could do dang near anything we wanted......And I had to walk an entire block to kindergarten, half of which was uphill!

Of course, I was in elementary school in the last half of the 80s.
Crap. I feel old now.

Wait...in this case, its a good thing.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 5:57:58 PM EDT
Two words.... Home School
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 6:02:29 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 6:05:34 PM EDT
Lets not forget now if someone picks on little Jr. and he fights back, then he is the one that gets into trouble because fighting never solves anything
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 6:05:35 PM EDT
DAMN, now that is sad.....

Heck I can remember getting pounded in dodgeball, playing kickball, and just rough housing around the school yard....

I will not even get into the un-official football games we played, DAMN how did we ever survive......
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 7:37:31 PM EDT
School sucks now, I would never survive. We used to play dodge-ball and people would actually get hurt all the time. Fight now ? Someone goes to jail, nobody ever went to jail when I was a kid and we used to beat the shit out of each other. Sad days indeed.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 7:38:54 PM EDT
Damn kids can't even play smear the queer anymore.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 7:44:25 PM EDT
The Neutral Observer and His classmates had unorganized kick-boxing tournaments every day at recess when He was in elementary school.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 8:44:46 PM EDT
This is the most pathetic thing ever.

No football? Soccer? TAG?

WHy dont they just sit around and hold hands.. singing songs?

Wait... that would involve bodily contact.... BANNED.

High-blood pressure alert.

- BUCC_Guy
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 8:46:35 PM EDT
What ever happened to holding someone down and making them eat dirt.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 8:49:01 PM EDT
I'm sick of this shit, let the kids get hurt, let them fight it teaches them a few things about life.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 9:10:42 PM EDT
We used to play stretch with our pocket knives during recess.
We could also put our guns in our lockers for after school hunting
and gun safety training.

I wouldn't last a minute in school today.

Link Posted: 8/22/2004 9:38:14 PM EDT
This school is screwed, and the people running it know next to nothing about children.

"We ask kids to work hard," said Roberta Raymond, principal at Woodridge. "They need frequent breaks to give their minds a rest."

Minds do not rest, if they weren't in the business of pushing lies and propaganda they would have a much easier time teaching the important stuff.

If you have children in public school, if you can send them to a private school or home school them.

Link Posted: 8/23/2004 3:37:50 AM EDT

During lunch recess one recent afternoon, yard supervisor Janice Hudson spotted a first-grader pushing a girl on the swing.

"Do not push," Hudson told the student. "Let her push herself, please."

We're doomed.

Link Posted: 8/23/2004 3:54:38 AM EDT
sounds to me that avoiding lawsuits is also a big motivator. interesting how commom that has become.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 4:17:22 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 4:22:13 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 4:24:22 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 5:01:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/23/2004 5:02:17 AM EDT by Brisk322]

Rule No. 8: If you make bad choices, you must leave the game.

Well, at least one rule makes some sense.

A bad choice:

(29 January 2003, Brazil) At work, Manoel Messias Batista Coelho was responsible for cleaning out the storage tanks of gasoline tanker trucks. He had been employed in that capacity for two months when he ran afoul of fuel.
The 35-year-old began to fill a tanker with water, a standard safety procedure that forces flammable vapor out of the container. He returned an hour later to check whether the water level was high enough to proceed. But he had trouble deciding, because it was so DARK inside the tanker.

A resourceful employee, Manoel forgot the very reason why he was filling the tank with water when he lit a cigarette lighter to shed some light on the situation. His little test successfully determined that the water level was NOT yet high enough for safety. The vapor explosion launched him through the air, and he landed in the company parking lot 100 meters away.

Manoel suffered severe burns, blunt force trauma, and an injury to the head that exposed his brain. Our witless car washer had learned his terminal lesson in safety by the time the firemen arrived.

Link Posted: 8/23/2004 5:06:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Airwolf:
And the pussification of America continues at Warp speed.

We really are doomed, aren't we?

It would appear so.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 5:13:23 AM EDT
Our playground was wide open and the equipment on it was downright dangerous--think military obstacle course. They had these phone poles planted in the ground at diferent heights and you were supposed to jump from one to the next. One day, a kid missed his jump and left his front teeth in the top of the next pole. That was not the only bloody incident on that playground, but I can still see Richard walking to the nurse with teacher, his mouth all bloody and blood all over his shirt.

Link Posted: 8/23/2004 5:18:51 AM EDT

Sorry, but when I read they title of the post, the first thing I thought was, "This HAS to be in California."

I am speechless.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 6:19:22 AM EDT
Dodgeball, freeze tag, tag, red light green light, those were good games. They pale in comparison to some of the stupid crap that went on at my school.
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