South Carolina School Bans "Tag" at Recess

We know that kids need recess. They need time to run around in order to learn better in school, and it need to be “free-play,” not just the structured exercise they get in gym class. They just need to be kids. It’s not that hard to understand, right? Apparently it is for one elementary school in Horry County South Carolina, which has banned tag. Yes, tag.


My Horry News reported that Roxanne Altman’s third grader came home after her first day of school and told her mom her favorite recess game had been banned. Why? Barbara Ammons, the new principal at Seaside Elementary, the school in question, says:

We have a rule at recess that says ‘Keep your hands, feet, objects and comments to yourself.’ Many times, tag leads to children getting hurt, mad or involved in physical altercations, so we are just being pro-active. They can still play kickball, basketball, soccer, run around, swing, etc. as long as it doesn’t involve putting your hands on another child.

There doesn’t appear to have been any incident that caused the change in rule. No complaint or injury. Ammons is just thickening the bubble in which today’s children are currently living. Altman thinks it’s ridiculous, according to My Horry News. “I can understand if there was an incident, but accidents happen. You could trip in the hall. These are stupid excuses they’re trying to come up with.”

My Horry News checked with other area schools, and they have reasonable guidelines- as long as kids aren’t pushing or playing rough, there’s no problem with tag. One principal even said “We are just blessed to have a playground.”

The website Active for Life singles out Tag as a game that can have many positive benefits for children.

When we consider a game that spans generations, crosses cultural boundaries, and can begin with a simple tap, we think of tag…From a physical literacy perspective, tag is wonderful for developing fundamental movement skills like running, dodging, and stopping … to name just a few.

Altman is concerned that banning tag could lead to banning other physical activity that benefits kids, which seems like a reasonable concern. Let the kids have some fun.



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