Out of Control Policy Blog

Whatís making the kids fat?

Suburbia?

Litigation and hyper-cautious safety-pushers aren't helping:

    Is there real danger on the modern playground?

    Safety advocates say yes and want to eliminate it.

    Their first target: swing sets.

    They've convinced Portland Public Schools to remove all swings from elementary schools playgrounds.
    But even a playground inspector finds the removal of swing sets a little over the top.

    He says that swinging creates motion and is an important part of childhood development.

    But the safety advocates don't stop there.

    Portland Public Schools have also rejected merry go rounds, tube slides, track rides, arch climbers, and teeter totters.

    At Grant Park in Northeast Portland, some parents embrace a new plastic enclosed play area, noting that the construction of the play equipment does not have sharp corners, and soft surfaces are used in many areas.

And there will be no running on playgrounds in Broward County, Florida. A new rule forbids it.

    Not dodge ball or tether ball, that's still too dangerous. And in Beaverton, at Barnes Elementary School, rules there forbid the game of tag.

    In Salem, an elementary education director says "we don't encourage the game of tag because it encourages fights."

But hey, kids still have plenty of fun ways to stay in shape: squat thrusts, jog in place, stand up straight and rotate arms in a circular motion.

Meanwhile, at the local death trap:

    But at Catlin Gabel, a private school, there's an entirely different philosophy at work on the playground. One where monkey bars, slides and other playground favorites are used daily by a roiling mass of youngsters, some who come away with skinned knees or other minor boo-boos.

    Kids there are taking chances, even jumping from swings, and it's all encouraged.

Whole piece here.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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