St Luke Catholic School in Toronto has banned tag.
Why would they ban this age old game? The game that only requires kids and space. No technology. No equipment. Just kids.
Toronto Catholic District School Board spokesperson Tony Yan says "kids were coming in from recess injured.”
Bumps, cuts, several owies, one sprain and a fracture. This is unfortunate but not at all unusual. In fact, it's normal.
It gets better. The school also replaced rubber balls with softer ones. For safety.
But the Toronto Catholic School Board District isn't alone in it's flaming haired panic about kids having the brash audacity to behave like kids.
Weber middle school in Port Washington New York has banned cartwheels, footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, lacrosse balls and of course the deadliest of all sports; tag.
Basically, they’ve decided to ban fun. Presumably children are to seek bemusement from gentle glances at school mates and kindly thoughts about math problems.
I hope they cut air holes in all the bubble wrap and safety tape they put on these poor little kids.
But I think there's something a little more unwittingly sinister at play. All this banning of roughhousing and physical activity is more than just nanny state nonsense run amok.
It's the banning of normal male child behaviour. Boys are rough and rowdy and they run and they're loud. They like tag and they like to play competitive games like soccer and football. Not all boys do. But most. And it's ok to say that.
There is a problem with the education system. Fewer and fewer men are becoming teachers.
Only a quarter of Canadian teachers are men. Fewer male teachers means there are fewer men in our children's schools who understand what it's like to be a little boy. The education system is a matriarchy now that doesn’t know what normal boy behaviour looks like. And it makes little boys hate school. It makes male high school drop out rates higher than females. Who'd want to stay in a place where no one understands you? It makes fewer men want to continue on into post-secondary education to become teachers. It makes the vicious cycle keep spinning.
Boys will be boys. And they need us to let them be boys.
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