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By Jeni Marinucci

Calgary elementary school teacher wants to ban "chasing games" at recess

Chasing games. Chasing games. Not “pulled a jack-knife on the lunch lady” or “mooned the principal.” The child did not hit anyone with a rock, or spit on a classmate, or pick his nose and wipe it on the office window.


Chasing games (© Thinkstock - Facebook)

I don’t know the Kemlo family of Calgary, but I bet they’re a decent bunch; I don’t know many from Calgary who aren’t, but given they survived an epic flood with pluck, elected an enviable mayor, and manage to host an annual stampede and have it be an orderly event, I’m guessing they’re a rational bunch. I’ll bet they were surprised they received a serious letter this week from their six year-old child’s teacher.

It seems there was some unfortunate activity in the schoolyard, with the Kemlo’s child at the helm. The teacher was being proactive and probably wanted to make parents aware of the “situation” before concerned phone calls were made and hushed conversations about class-action lawsuits began. No parent wants to hear about dangerous activity involving their child, so the letter likely sent a shiver up the spine of those who received it. I know it did mine.

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But what this teacher was asking for was a moratorium on chasing games  on the playground. “There are many fun and safe ways to spend recess,” read the note. “Chasing is dangerous because we can lose control of our bodies and others can get hurt, as they did today.”

Chasing games. Chasing games. Not “pulled a jack-knife on the lunch lady” or “mooned the principal.” The child did not hit anyone with a rock, or spit on a classmate, or pick his nose and wipe it on the office window. He chased another child and in doing so “lost control of his body.” I guess we have different definition of “lost control of his body” this teacher and I, because I think chasing and running are actually quite natural biological functions of an able-bodied, spirited six year-old child. And further to that point, sometimes “losing control” of our bodies feels pretty damn good. I’d do it more often if I still got recess.

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Do you know what happens when children are not able to temporarily “lose control” at recess? They lose control in math or in music or at circle time. The run in the hallway and throw pencils and tie one another’s shoe laces together. They make farting noises during the National anthem and they shout out of turn. Children are swirling masses of energy fueled by juice boxes and cheese sandwiches and if we don’t allow – or encourage – them to run around and burn off steam we are in for an eventual explosion of nuclear proportions. The rule ”a tired dog is a good dog” is apt and also applies to children. (Same with “don’t pee on the rug.”)

How have we regressed so far in our thinking in only one generation? This isn’t school, it’s academic prison. The Kemlo child -- this “chaser” -- is only six. If a six year-old child can attend a full-day school without needing a nap, then I think he’s entitled to a good romp at recess. I attended elementary school only one generation ago, and at recess we skated on a section of the playground the principal flooded.  We threw balls and chased each other and jumped off the highest ledge of the climber. We were allowed to play in the creek and catch tadpoles and we went on field trips by piling into our teacher’s car. We were allowed to run. We didn’t walk around like miniature dead-eyed widget salesmen making small talk at a convention.

I cannot even imagine how this teacher wrote such a letter without wanting to slam her hand in a drawer because this is ridiculous. Oh, look – there’s my violent nature peeking through. I must have participated in chasing games as a child.

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73Comments
Jun 13, 2014 1:49PM
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I my opinion the teacher does not want to supervise a group of six year children.. Children are full of energy and it is a good way to burn of some of it.. Maybe she is teaching the wrong grade the teacher may need to start teaching middle school or high school..

shame on her with ad's that indicate that children are obese and they need regular exercise and fresh air to maintain a normal weight.  Bored children eat..    Shame on you.

        

 

Jun 13, 2014 2:02PM
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Where, the hell, did this teacher get their license???  We are always reading/hearing about an obesity epidemic among todays' kids.  Let the kids chase each other and have fun for pete's sake!!!  No one ever died from a scratched up knee or a couple of little bruises.  My message to this teacher - LET KIDS BE KIDS.
Jun 13, 2014 2:07PM
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The kids are OK it's the teaching profession which needs an overhaul. We're getting sillier by the day. One word explains the thought process behind this note, "Pathetic".

 

Jun 13, 2014 2:57PM
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When I was a kid...they called this game TAG!!!  Seriously???  Let's give them all an iPad so they can sit around and play Angry Birds.  They you'll wonder why they are bouncing in their classroom chairs, diagnose them with ADHD and put them on meds to calm them down.  Perhaps this lady needs a new line of work (without children). 

Jun 13, 2014 3:14PM
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While I don't condone banning chasing games, there IS an underlying problem with them....parents.  Yes, parents.  I'm an elementary teacher myself, and I have gotten countless angry emails and phone calls from parents when little Johnny gets hurt on the playground.  Angry because a child zigged when he should have zagged, and crashed into their child.....which, in their eyes, is my fault.  An on-duty teacher simply can't control what happens when kids run full-tilt while looking back behind them. Accidents are inevitable.  They happened when we were kids too of course, but for some reason our parents didn't run yelling and threatening legal action to the school when it did.  Sadly, it's very different nowadays. 

Jun 13, 2014 2:32PM
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Lack of chasing games and too much safety.

I guess we prefer lethargy and childhood obesity

Jun 13, 2014 3:58PM
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"Dear Mr/Ms Teacher: I respectfully refute your attempts to curtail my child's physical activity and participation in "chase". This is not only part of his/her natural development as a child, but is also directly impeding his/her training for the Zombie Apocalypse. I will not have my child turned into some flesh-eating monstrosity just because they never learned how to adequately evade and avoid a chaser. Good day to you."
Jun 13, 2014 2:54PM
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This is absolutely ridiculous. Too often now a days the teachers are deciding what's best for the next generations... oh these kids are too rambunctious, lets dope them with ritalin to calm them down. Oh these kids are playing violent chasing games they call tag, better put a halt to it.

 

so when the health departments suggest that due to the growing trend of child hood obesity that all children should be doing at least an hour of 'active' outdoor activities a day. The teachers, or at least this one, wants to apparently promote child hood obesity.

 

What has happened to our teachers? they want to do less and less and get paid more and more. They can complain all they want about the 'extra hours' they have to put in grading papers and such, but guess what, you're a friggen teacher, you signed up to teach knowing that your predecessors had to do this work and more with less pay. Their responsibilities are the children and letting them grow as they should. Not desensitize them and zombify them to the point of what we have now.

 

When I was in school I had my skull cracked open decently by the school bully, you know what happened? he got suspended, I got a bandaid, and later a visit to the Dr. After that the bully wasn't so much of a bully anymore and we actually got along quite well. They didn't ban playing on school equipment (cause guess what, that happened on the slide). Another incident of an older kid in the school, playing on the playground equipment again, a horizontal bar this time, maybe 4 feet high. He fell off and severely injured his back. did they ban playing on school equipment? nope they knew kids play hard, sometimes a little rough. Its what made us who we are today.

 

Somewhere along the way our society has gotten too soft, babying each other every step of the way. Kids have no respect coming out of school, which i guess has more to do with poor parenting than teaching, but my teachers instilled a respectful attitude into all of their students. Kids are getting lazier and lazier because we the adults are saying, oh you got hurt? ok we wont let you play anymore. Oh you don't want to try? that's ok here's an easier way to do it. Oh you don't want to participate in Track and field? ok here's an award just for participating.

 

 

Jun 13, 2014 2:19PM
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The nerve of some six year olds. I bet they are scarred for life. When they get older they will want to chase a university degree or at least a trade school certificate. They will want to chase a good job, the prettiest girl in sight, a solid place in the community and a nice safe home to raise a family.


Much better that they march (slowly) outside for fresh air, become the midpoint of their classes and do a middle management job forever. They could then take whatever society is inclined to make available to them.


Get a grip!

Jun 13, 2014 4:28PM
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Hockey is a chasing game.

Football is a chasing game.

Soccer is a chasing game.

Lacrosse is a chasing game.

Base ball is a chasing game.

We chase our dreams and chase the rainbow.

Are we teaching our children to only sit or stand in the corner.

If we don't learn to chase we never learn to escape.

If we can't escape we will perish. We were meant to survive and to survive we chase.

Jun 13, 2014 3:11PM
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Why don't we just scrap play time all together! That way, the school day will end earlier and the teacher can go home to his/her safe, cozy quiet home without the joy of listening to the laughter of these kids.  We, as a society are creating a bunch rules that take away from their natural growth and development of our future leaders.  How on earth can we teach them how to play, how to use their imagination, learn, communicate, resolve little disputes or to think on their own if we keep putting "safety road blocks" at every turn. I understand this stems from fear of reprisal or an upset parent whose child went home with a bruise. To those parents, I say suck it up.  We are creating a bunch of weak minded children whose first response it to run home to Mom & Dad who in turn defend Jack & Jill by making the school change the rules.  It's our fault for allowing this to happen. it's our fault for passing the buck, it's our fault for not being stronger.
Jun 13, 2014 2:30PM
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Take  away  all the things  that  makes a kid a kid and they will have nothing but attitude and wrong doings for activities. Shame this is the signs of the times. If teachers had more power  to have control , instead of everyone wanting to sue  for correcting a  brat , problems would be somewhat less...
Jun 13, 2014 2:46PM
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Stupidest thing I've ever heard! I have a 5-year-old granddaughter whose greatest joy in life has been running from the time she was on her feet. It's a joy to watch and she eats and sleeps better!
Jun 13, 2014 3:32PM
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I can't believe someone has completely freaked out over kids chasing one another. What's next? No more Hula Hooping (they might hurt their back), hopscotch (landing on one foot could cause ankles to break) or worse.... Skipping Rope!!! Can you imagine all of the little ones tangled up in the ropes! The horror of it all! Come on, let's get real, bubble wrapping is for shipping valuables through the mail, not for our kids.
Jun 13, 2014 3:06PM
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My son was at a dead run from the day he could walk, but then he would sit in school. Too many teachers are joining the profession who really don't like kids. My best friend is a teacher, and guess what, she is running with them, or letting them chase her!
Jun 13, 2014 3:27PM
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Hmm no chasing games but freeze tag is OK . WTF isn't tag a chasing game?
Jun 13, 2014 3:19PM
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Does freeze tag no longer involve one child 'chasing' after a mass of other children for the purpose of making contact with individuals from the mass (and thereby 'freezing' such chasee with whom contact is made)?  It has been a while since I played so perhaps there has been a rule change...

 

Jun 13, 2014 3:10PM
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Best movie quote I ever heard about children.  "I don't think I want to know a 6 year old who isn't a dreamer or sillyheart, and I sure don't want to know one who takes their student career seriously." 


Let kids be kids, remember our country's leader were once children, and I bet they had fun running and chasing!

Jun 13, 2014 2:52PM
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oh I can "use equipment"?


Dodgeball time!

Jun 13, 2014 4:00PM
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This pansy ass, paranoid freak needs to quit her job. Kids chasing each other is normal. Kids fall down and get hurt, and they get over it. 
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