It’s been a while since I was a kid, but I can still remember that when one child or a handful of them caused trouble at school, the teachers, administrators, and parents simply dealt with those kids. Well, of course nowadays, schools issue blanket policies that punish the innocent for the trespasses of the guilty.
The latest example is Gold Ridge Elementary School in Folsom, California. After four 4th and 5th graders – that’s right, four kids – played tag with a little too much roughness, the school has banned the classic playground game along. (Then again, I was a little surprised that children still play tag, but I digress.)
According to the [Sacramento] Bee, Principal David Frankel notified four parents that their kids had been warned about being too rough. His note read, “Today, we implemented new procedures at school aimed at reducing physical contact and related problem behaviors. Student(s) were instructed that physical contact, including tag games, touch football, etc., were not allowed in the yard.”
I know what you’re thinking: “Why didn’t they just deal with the four who were roughhousing?” The kids notice that too.
Fourth-grader Mallory Giddens told KOVR-TV that some other kids “touch too hard” and “push people over,” but argued against banning “Tag,” saying, “I don’t really like it. I mean, I don’t really play tag, but I don’t think it’s fair to everyone else that plays tag!”
The principal’s letter outlines the disciplinary penalties for rough play on the playground, which includes warnings, office visits, and parent-teacher conferences. Nowhere does the policy mention punishing all the rule-followers just because your kid is a punk. I mean, if I were a dad, I would want to know that my son or daughter was causing his or her schoolmates to miss out on touch football!
Look, this is the same rationale that prevents law abiding citizens from buying Sudafed without undergoing a Jack Bauer style interrogation. In too many instances these days, the innocent have to suffer the tyranny of the guilty, and Gold Ridge Elementary is yet another example. What a shame.