The PJ Tatler

Washington State School District Bans 'Tag'...Sort Of

This story broke earlier in the week and went viral on social media. A school in the Seattle area has banned the game of “Tag” — at least as we know it.

You see, they’ve had incidents recently of kids getting tagged too hard and falling, as well as some disputes as to whether the tagged player was actually “it.”

So in order to protect the “emotional safety” of the kids, they have made up new rules for tag, only confusing the situation more.

Washington Post:

“School District bans game of tag to ‘ensure physical, emotional safety of students,’” said the headline on the QFox13 news Web site.

“Elementary schools draw community backlash for ‘hands off’ at recess,” reported the Mercer Island Reporter.

A spokesman for the school district seemed to reinforce the impression with a statement:

“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. The rationale behind this is to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all students.

“School staffs are working with students in the classroom to ensure that there are many alternative games available at recess and during unsupervised play, so that our kids can still have fun, be with their friends, move their bodies and give their brains a break.”

“Good grief, our kids need some unstructured playtime,” mom Kelsey Joyce told the TV station. “It’s a game that practically everyone has played – but if you go to public school on Mercer Island, keep your hands to yourself.

“I totally survived tag,” said Joyce. “I even survived red rover, believe it or not.”

“I played tag,” said mom Melissa Neher, “I survived.”

Thursday the school district attempted to clarify. What it really has in mind, said a statement, was a “new form of tag-like running games [sic] to minimize the issues of ‘you were tagged/no I wasn’t’ or ‘the tag was too hard and felt more like a hit.’ Tag is not banned,” it insisted. “We plan to support our elementary students with new games and alternatives that still involve running and exercising.”

Running. Exercising. But no mention of touching, however, raising the question of how a child can become “it” without being touched.

“Tag-like running games”? Are they joking? In seeking to look not quite so idiotic, they actually succeeded in making themselves look crazy:

The rules for the new “tag-like” game were not set forth. An “air-tag,” perhaps? A tag-like gesture? A mere shout of “you’re it?”

How close would the existing “it” have to be to the target “it” before a shout of “you’re it” is permitted?

I can imagine what these officials would have thought of some versions of “Town Ball” — one of the precursors to the modern game of baseball that was played in early America by school kids. In at least one version of Town Ball, you have bases and an indeterminate number of players, including a pitcher and the batter trying to hit the ball. But the ball in this case is a rock and if the player hits the rock, the only way get him to make an “out” is to throw the rock at the runner and hit him.

The poor dears in the Mercer Island School District would no doubt have heart attacks if their students played that game.

These school administrators need deep, regular therapy in order to become functional citizens of our society again. Don’t worry, guys. It may take years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But we’ll have you right as rain soon enough.


This just in:

The Mercer Island School District that banned the game of Tag has relented and has decided to reinstate the game.

I still think they were nuts for banning it in the first place.