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Boys and girls, come out to play.... - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Boys and girls, come out to play.... [Oct. 18th, 2006|10:56 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |irritatedirritated]

NEWS HEADLINE 1: Not it! Mass. elementary school bans tag

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.


NEWS HEADLINE 2: Elementary School Kids Increasingly Obese

Gee, do you think there is any correlation between the fact that we are so concerned about controlling every moment where kids might get hurt and the fact that they are running and playing less?

While I have serious problems with tort reform as it is currently being bandied about by insurance company lobbyists, I also believe that it's time that judges stopped extending fault to include every single time someone falls down. Kids at play get hurt sometimes. That's a fact of life. I took a few spectacular falls in grade school and ended up at the doctor's office more than once. But if when we try to take that risk out of the equation, we do so at the risk of our children.

Doctors who malpractice should not do so confident that their liability is limited - I've seen too many horror stories to believe that punitive damages should be eliminated. But people who sue school districts over broken arms from a recess mishap should be thrown out of court with a good scolding and the school district's court fees assessed to them. Because the ones putting kids at serious risk are those who would turn recess into a time to mill about quietly instead of running and playing.
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2006-10-18 03:00 pm (UTC)
and the school district's court fees assessed to them

That is what will really put an end to the frivolous suits.

NEWS HEADLINE 2: Elementary School Kids Increasingly Obese

I'd blame this on "television/game console as baby sitter" syndrome, too. When I was a wee lad, we would play outside after school and after dinner. We didn't plop down in front of the boob tube munching on chips and soda all day.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 03:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, that definitely contributes, and hugely. But we don't need to make it even worse.
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[User Picture]From: scarletdemon
2006-10-18 03:01 pm (UTC)
OK, that is INSANE.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 03:03 pm (UTC)
Welcome to America, land of the brave, home of the sued....
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[User Picture]From: darthfox
2006-10-18 03:04 pm (UTC)
I think I can get behind allowing parents to claim damages if they can demonstrate that the kid was hurt as a direct result of there having been insufficient supervision. But sufficient supervision stops kids from doing things that are dangerous, like fighting and running in front of moving traffic, not things like playing. (Mustn't jump rope; you might hurt your wee knees and ankles.)
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[User Picture]From: aehallh
2006-10-18 03:09 pm (UTC)
Agreed.
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[User Picture]From: wyrrlen
2006-10-18 03:16 pm (UTC)
My state's favorite Democratic would-be president, John Edwards, made a career off of exploiting the unlimited medical malpractice liability. He won, er...can't remember the amount, let's say in the ballpark of $20 million...against a doctor that we knew because the child would not survive on its own and that was the estimated cost to care for the child for 18 years. The child died after 2 years. The enitre financial judgement stood. Oh, and the independent medical board found that the doctor had acted in a manner consistent with proper care, which really doesn't matter because of insurance she can never work again.

I'm not saying liability should be nothing and that all doctors are great, but the system is broken on both sides and I'm more inclined to trust people that take the hippocratic oath than (gulp! sorry) the judgement of the legal system. My apologies for taking this a little bit off-topic.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 03:32 pm (UTC)
No, that's okay. Just having watched firsthand, from the other side, the appallingly bad medical care my sister received (which damn near killed her on a couple occasions), and knowing some doctors with incredibly arrogant attitudes, I am equally leary of handing over the reins.

Somewhere in the middle is a better system, based less on emotion and more on fact. We just don't have it.
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[User Picture]From: elfwench
2006-10-18 03:20 pm (UTC)
I remember a time (remember, I was raised in the 60's) when if I got hurt by using a toy/thing inappopriately or before I was old enough for it, I was the one who got chastised or even punished for it, even as my mother was cleaning up the damage. Same thing if I didn't use common sense about how to use a thing and got hurt by it. The lesson stuck, I learned it was my actions and decisions that caused the end result, and I didn't (usually) do a repeat performance.

Today, parents sue the manufacturer or owner. :(
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 03:33 pm (UTC)
Yup. And it's a loss, that ability to play with sharp objects that we so happily enjoyed!
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[User Picture]From: zenithgryph
2006-10-18 03:28 pm (UTC)
I find it interesting that more and more adults either cannot or do not know how to raise their children properly (here, Joey, watch more TV). Yet, the moment one thing goes "wrong" in the child's life (he skinned a knee! That's a life-threatening injury!), the substitute care-takers are the ones to blame for the child's experience.

If I have children I'm going to raise them just as I was before: usher them outdoors to play, jump and explore like little kids should.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 03:43 pm (UTC)
I just hope they can find other kids to play with....
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[User Picture]From: trianakvetch
2006-10-18 03:30 pm (UTC)
Sadly, i see this happeningh more and more because parents are afraid of getting reported to child services. In the field I work in I see so many parents incredibly paranoid when their kid is playing because they might bruise themselves. All someone has to do is take pictures of the kid and then take the parents to court. It happens a lot in foster cases. Then the parents get hit (no pun intended) for negligence.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 03:44 pm (UTC)
That sucks. It's pathetic. Grr.
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[User Picture]From: scyllacat
2006-10-18 03:43 pm (UTC)
I'd like to point out -- completely undocumented, I'm sure you're Google capable of finding things like this -- that they're finding children who do NOT run and play not only become more obese (and at risk from all the secondary complications), they may have weaker bones from not having enough weight-bearing movement!!!

I suspect we'll find other problems; there's something ironic in the fact that children's mental childhoods are short-changed by divorces, presidential blow-jobs and nuclear threats, but we have no problem in having them grow up physical (and I suspect, immunological) weaklings because it's too much risk to have them play outside.

/rant off
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 03:45 pm (UTC)
I'm not surprised by that. But it is so sad.
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[User Picture]From: sheenaqotj
2006-10-18 03:46 pm (UTC)
Ugh, yeah, that's ridiculous. I can't really add anything to what you and other folks have said already, but this pissed me off enough that I had to leave a comment.
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[User Picture]From: astridsdream
2006-10-18 06:16 pm (UTC)
I'm with you. If recess is "a time when accidents can happen", why not just ban recess altogether? Come on kids, sit in the corner and read a nice book. Everyone have their thimbles on to prevent papercuts? Good!
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[User Picture]From: darthfox
2006-10-18 04:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, bless him, I remember that part of that routine. :-)

When I was a kid, we had a nine-hundred-pound television set on a TV tray! My dad's philosophy was, "Let 'em pull it down once. They'll learn."

"Want to stick your finger in an electrical socket? ... Yeah, hurt like hell, didn't it? Don't do that no more."
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 05:01 pm (UTC)
Pretty much.
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[User Picture]From: omniguy
2006-10-18 04:38 pm (UTC)
Ye Gods this gets rediculous. It wasn't that long ago that people just chalked accidents up to... well accidents.

Here in the UK, we have "The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents". Surely, by definition, an accident is something that cannot be prevented.

If a teacher punches a kid, sue their ass. If another kid punches your kid, get them suspended or expelled. If you kid falls on his face during tag, give them a hug and maybe a plaster and send them back out there again (if they want to go).

This is one of the major reasons I quit my law course, it's all so seedy and money grabbing and false. In the end we're going to be living very boring, risk free lives with a group of lawyers constantly watching for eveyr mistake you make.

Oh yeah... we've got that. And they're lawyers who call themsevles politicians.

Damn!
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[User Picture]From: kimberkid
2006-10-18 07:47 pm (UTC)

Your mention of the definiton of accident reminds me...

of one of my recent Nursing classes.

We were talking about health concerns related to various stages of development (SIDs for infants, heart disease for middle agers, malnutrition for the elderly) and an interesting thing was brought up.

For children and adolescents, the medical profession is moving away from the term "accident prevention" towards "reducing unintentional injuries" (keeping your water heater to under 120 degrees F, for example) based on the notion than an accident *is* purely unpredictable and unpreventable.

Not really important, just felt like sharing lol...

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[User Picture]From: donkey_hokey
2006-10-18 04:44 pm (UTC)
Add in the fact that kids will have no outlet for their excessive energy, except maybe in class, and the percentage of drugged kids will go up dramatically.

Fat, drugged/sedated, physically unskilled kids. Hm. And this is supposed to be the generation taking care of me when I retire? *shudder*

(There may also be some other issues involved, such as kids that don't get to play tag will have *pout*sob* self-esteem issues *wah*. I might be off-base on this though.)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 05:02 pm (UTC)
I was awful at tag as a kid. I survived. But I bet that is part of it.
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[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2006-10-18 04:45 pm (UTC)
For many kids recess is the only opportunity they have to run around outside.

An increasing number of kids are in after school programs because they are in either a 2-working parent family or a single parent family.

Add that to the irrational and media-fostered fear many parents in safe neighborhoods have of their little darlings being kidnapped, or the reality of some of the unsafe neighborhoods and when the kids finally do get home, they aren't allowed to just go outside and play.

The predator fear leads many parents to either make their kids take the bus or pick them up from school, so they don't get even the minimal exercise of a walk.

Personally I think that if the kids get out at recess and run around like mad things playing tag or whatever, when they get back in the classroom they're better set to sit still and listen. Lack of adequate physical activity makes them fidget which prevents them learning and disrupts the class as well.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 05:03 pm (UTC)
Well, if they have extra energy, we'll just drug 'em up!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 05:03 pm (UTC)
It's a huge problem; I just hate to see another brick in the wall.
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[User Picture]From: gythiawulfie
2006-10-18 06:23 pm (UTC)

First is was dodgeball

then it was tether ball
now it's tag....

A few years back, as a former athlete I had to sign a petition to keep shotput and discus IN high schools because some damned parent sued the district because their child did not obey the rules of the field, ran across the field during a discuss competition, and got hit in the head.

They deemed it to dangerous.

They lost because the field is clearly marked, more than one person heard the ref's telling them to move, stop hault etc, AND the fact that the thrower was already in mid spin, they couldn't stop it.

I am hoping to get javelin reinstated.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 06:28 pm (UTC)

Re: First is was dodgeball

Tetherball is gone? There is no justice in the world!
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[User Picture]From: hyrkanian
2006-10-18 07:19 pm (UTC)
Found this from the link in theferret's journal, and sad to say I'm not surprised at the ban. :( I think the problem starts long before elementary school as far as kids being less active, though. I was born in '69 and I never sat in a stroller. Until I could walk, I was held. After I could walk, I walked until I was tired and then I was carried. Today I rarely see a kid with its feet on the ground, I see 4yr-olds in strollers, wtf. With my two boys (11 and 7 now) I had slings and carried them that way anytime they weren't walking, til age four when they physically got too big for the slings. I was given a stroller as a shower gift, I used it maybe twice and put it away to gather dust. If parents let kids walk instead of carting them around, they'd be used to being more active from early on.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 08:01 pm (UTC)
I did use a stroller for my kids when we went places like Disney, but I only had a little folding umbrella stroller and that was stolen in the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space when Amy was 2. No more stroller.
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[User Picture]From: forestfire
2006-10-18 07:29 pm (UTC)
I'm really not buying it. I clerk in a trial court and every type of case imaginable passes by my desk. I'm not saying that I never see a frivolous lawsuit. They are, however, a distinct mo=inority and I have yet to see one result in a pay out. Many might settle, but almost all get thrown out on Summary Judgment. Schools have attorneys, and the cost of filing a summary judgment is nominal. I think its more that administrators don't want to cope with kids. They don't want to deal rationally with parents. They don't want to take the time to set clear standards for adaquate supervision, so its easiest so its easiest to just ban activities en masse.

Also note that all the banned activities are competative. I sustained my worst childhood injuries on the metal playground equipment. Competative sports, however, bring up issues of talent and skill and self-esteem. More things schools would like to avoid. I actually think (as a parent and the roommate of a teacher) that most school's would like to avoid kids. If they interupt class, drug them. If the parents won't, its neglect. Put them in full days earlier and earlier. Raise the standards. Eliminate recess.
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[User Picture]From: lubedpumpkin
2006-10-18 08:36 pm (UTC)
"Many might settle"

Well sure, but that money doesn't fall out of the sky. My fiance's mother just settled against a company for $15,000. That's not chump change. When we're talking about schools, that can add up fast and take away from their already limited resources.
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[User Picture]From: lubedpumpkin
2006-10-18 08:39 pm (UTC)
Totally agree. There shouldn't be these sorts of preventative measures against lawsuits. If there are lawsuits, let them be valid ones.

I wonder how many frivolous lawsuits the US would avoid if lawyers actually follower their ethical handbooks and didn't try to introduce cases without merit in the interest of a cash settlement..
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 10:44 pm (UTC)
There is the competing requirement, which is to provide representation to anyone who wants it - it can be a bit of a conflict.
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[User Picture]From: kibbles
2006-10-18 08:54 pm (UTC)
What a difference 1000 miles makes.

In Brooklyn, at the slightest sign of cold or snow or rain, the kids were stuck in the auditorium to watch a movie during recess.

Here, we got notes home that for our children to participate this winter in recess, they all have to get snow pants and boots. Because they WILL be outside so they might as well play!

They have playground equipment that makes me a bit pale, its so high and challenging, but it's good, I'm glad its there. Thats how it SHOULD be.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 10:45 pm (UTC)
I'm glad for your kids!
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From: elgordo303
2006-10-18 09:06 pm (UTC)

tort reform

the lawyers want to sue everyone (anti-tort reformists)
the corporate world wants no-one to be able to sue them (tort reform = no liability)

i think everyone with a soul and a brain wants intelligent tort reform.
being able to sue and being compensated appropriately when negligence occurs, or when reasonable safeguards or public saftey are disregarded.

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[User Picture]From: ithildae
2006-10-18 09:27 pm (UTC)
NPR had a segment a while back about parents scheduling a child's day. Children need time to play. If we never let children choose activities, when will they learn good judgment about choosing activities as an adolescent? Our over-protectiveness is doing more lasting damage to this generation than accidents and lawsuits ever will.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 10:53 pm (UTC)
I absolutely agree. Kids are so structured that they don't have time to play.
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[User Picture]From: mightydoll
2006-10-18 09:38 pm (UTC)
I remember going back to my old elementary school in my twenties to pick up my (much) younger sister. I had with me my 5 year old and my 3.5 year old.

Since I'd gone there, the playground had been torn down and rebuilt twice, this was the third new playground. It was MUCH lower than the previous two and at first, I thought this would be a new "kindergarten" playground or something, as it resembled a preschool climber more than anything else.

I was early, and as I stood outside, letting my small children climb all over it, a class of 5th graders came out. I was advised by the teacher that the playground wasn't approved for use for kids under 6, so my kids weren't allowed on it and the 5th graders had their first go on the brand new playground.

When I was 10 I'd have scoffed at something I could climb up without a ladder, but these kids didn't seem to have that problem.

Throughout their half hour play period, the teacher occupied herself by constantly reminding her students "don't run, don't run! DON'T RUN!"

WTF?

Don't RUN? In a playground?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-18 10:57 pm (UTC)
That just makes me 10 kinds of sad. There's somewhere between the jungle gyms on asphalt of my childhood and the handrailed stuff they have today.
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[User Picture]From: whipwreck
2006-10-18 10:23 pm (UTC)
I think a large portion of the problem stems from what, exactly, parents expect from the school system. I mean, it would appear that parents almost expect something like a 1:6 teacher to student ratio so that their children are constantly under someone's watchful eye.

Case in point: When I was a residence council president at my university, the administration decided to do a survey of parents, realizing that parents had a substantial say in their kids' post-secondary institution decision. Some exorbitantly high number (I seem to recall 1/3) actually said that if their child was missing classes, they would expect some form of communication from the university advising them of that fact.
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[User Picture]From: thestalkycop
2006-10-19 01:32 am (UTC)
*blinks* It's a strange world we live in.

British Bulldog was outlawed at my primary school after a serious accident. Of course, our version of British Bulldog involved one poor kid standing in the middle of the playground and the rest of the school jumping on him and attempting to severely maim him.

But seriously, even I wasn't banned from playing tag at school (one inch difference in the length of my legs, and I was a clumsy child anyway). They just made one of the "big girls" watch us, so she could pick me up and clean my scrapes when I inevitably toppled over. A dinner lady once remarked that I was costing them a fortune in band-aids. Had she said that now, I could probably have sued her for disability discrimination.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-10-19 01:49 am (UTC)
Had she said that now, I could probably have sued her for disability discrimination.

God, that's probably true!
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