Wrestling and Patty-cake may seem like recess staples for many kindergartners, but one Canadian school is enacting a “no-touch” rule for tykes on the playground.
According to a letter outlining the new rule at Coghlan Fundamental Elementary in British Columbia, “We will have a zero-tolerance policy with regards to hands-on play, resulting in the missing of playtime and trips to the office for those who are unable to follow the rules.”
The letter states that some contact games have led to injuries, and therefore kindergartners will no longer be allowed to touch each other while playing. The rule does not apply to students in other grades.
Parents are skeptical at best, wondering how such a rule could possibly be enforced — and if it even should.
“I can’t imagine little kids not being able to hug each other or help each other on the playground,” mother Julie Chen said in an interview with CTV News. “No tag, no hugging, no touching at all.”
On behalf of the district, spokesperson Ken Hoff said that the school was acting in response to parental complaints, and that rough play was becoming a safety issue. He also reassured parents that the punishments for touching would not be harsh.
“It wasn’t meant to be an instantaneous situation where the hammer is just going to drop if a child touches another child,” Hoff said. “I think what it was meant to convey is we are taking the issue seriously.”
Although no-touch rules are not common, one middle school in Fairfax County, Va. enacted a similar policy in 2007. Students and parents were less than accepting at that school, as well. Said seventh-grader Hal Beaulieu, who was given a warning after putting his arm around his girlfriend, "I think hugging is a good thing. I put my arm around her. It was like for 15 seconds. I didn't think it would be a big deal."