Dear Parents: After a few injuries caused by large groups of students running down the slope to line up after recess, I asked our custodial engineer to temporarily tape the area to keep students from running down the slope..I have been communicating with our district gardeners and machinists to discuss a better solution such as landscaping the sloped area to prevent students from unsafely running down into it … I am also meeting with the Playground Committee this week and will seek their input on the improvements for safety reasons.
Dear Principal (I wrote back): I was very disappointed to see the yellow tape around the dirt slope on the playground and even more disappointed to read your reasoning for it..I’m a firm believer in the value of play – real play. There are risks, of course, that are serious enough to require intervention. A dirt hill with a 3 foot slope is not one of them..In the simplest terms, what happens when a child falls while running down this slope? They learn they need to be careful when running down the slope! Remove the challenge and the consequences and you remove the opportunity to learn. Let me ask two questions:.Are we making our kids any safer?Almost certainly not. While potentially anything could happen with any fall, the majority of upsets are likely minor scrapes and bruises – if that. But more important, there’s evidence that removing small risks from a playground only serves to encourage greater risk taking – and prevents no injuries in the aggregate..Are we making kids any smarter?The message we’re sending when we try to protect our children from trivial dangers like this is that we don’t trust them, their intelligence, their ability to learn. To be safe in the real world requires the ability to tell serious risk from manageable risk. Teachers talk in the classroom of getting kids to think independently – and then the children walk outside to see tape marking off a slope that a 2 year old could safely run down..Kids are better off when they learn to navigate the real world than when they are protected from every possible risk. A playground that more closely resembles the real world makes for safer, stronger, and smarter children in the long run..It’s difficult to write seriously about such a trivial matter but I fear if I don’t speak up now that this policy of a zero-risk schoolyard will only grow stronger and our kids will pay a steep price. Steeper, even, than a 3-foot hill. — David Hogg
Filed under: Bad Laws, Rules and Verdicts, Insurance repercussions, Parks, Playing and Playgrounds, School and Zero Tolerance and Bullies, Uncategorized | Tagged: dangerize, hill, Outrage, overprotection, park, play, playground, school, zero tolerance |