Welcome To The Twilight Zone

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Submitted for your approval: Activists are in full cry after childhood obesity. Lawyers are preparing class action suits against the food industry. Bans on soft drinks and trans-fats are being imposed. Experts express worries about couch potato kids perched in front of televisions and video games.

And schools districts are banning the game of tag at recess.

ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Tag, you're out! Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Recess is "a time when accidents can happen," said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.

While there is no districtwide ban on contact sports during recess, local rules have been cropping up. Several school administrators around Attleboro, a city of about 45,000 residents, took aim at dodgeball a few years ago, saying it was exclusionary and dangerous.

Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Spokane, Wash., also recently banned tag during recess. A suburban Charleston, S.C., school outlawed all unsupervised contact sports.

Ah, the nanny state. Nothing has to make sense here in the twilight zone.

UPDATE: More local coverage from the Sun Chronicle including interviews with parents. Also a sane principal at another school:

George Gagnon, principal of Falls Elementary School in North Attleboro, said playground rules have swung a different direction since he started there four years ago.

Tag, touch football, soccer, "they can play all that," he said. That wasn't the case before he arrived.

Gagnon's philosophy is, "I'd rather see them running around, getting fresh air and coming back in refreshed."

He feels children are "trapped" in organized sports like football, hockey and baseball. Running around outside at recess, kids make up their own games with their own rules and resolutions, Gagnon said.

Accidents occur "every couple of days," he said. "But kids run and fall — that's kids."

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