N.H. elementary school rules game of tag too dangerous

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The principal of a Nashua, N.H., elementary school has decided that the game of tag is too dangerous for youngsters and should be banned.

“We want them running, we want them jumping and releasing the energy, but just in a safe way,” Charlotte Avenue Elementary School Principal Patricia Beaulieu told The Nashua Telegraph.

She posted a letter on the school’s Facebook page informing parents of the safety policies.

“The traditional recess game ‘tag,’ involves one or more players chasing other players in an attempt to ‘tag’ or touch them, usually with their hand,” Ms. Beaulieu wrote on Oct. 4. “Seems innocent enough, however the force with which students ‘tag’ varies greatly, and this game, in particular, has been banned in many schools in the United States due primarily to concerns about injuries.”

She told the newspaper that several concussions, a broken wrist and other tag-related injuries prompted her to post the letter.

“It’s funny — I went into fifth-grade lunch and I was talking to all the fifth graders, and I said, ‘Raise your hand if you’ve ever been pushed aggressively while playing tag.’ Most of them raised their hands,” she said.

Ms. Beaulieu said the school’s rules haven’t changed. There has always been a “no contact” rule, and the game of tag violates that policy. She posted the letter to re-emphasize the rule, she said.

Bill Chisholm, 43, said that even though some children may hurt others during the game doesn’t mean it should be banned outright.

“There isn’t a single childhood activity that any kid could participate in that doesn’t have the risk of injury,” he told The Telegraph. “I think we’re just to this point where if one person anywhere has an injury or if one person anywhere is offended, everyone has to stop.”

Playground policies can vary from school to school, Nashua Superintendent Mark Conrad said.

“I think for something like playground games, it’s really up to the discretion of the principal at each school to determine the rules that are appropriate,” he said. “For something like tag, you’re looking at the size of the classes, the physical layout of the school grounds.”

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