A Langley elementary school has banned kindergarten students from touching each other at recess, a policy some parents think is both unnecessary and unworkable.
Mom Julie Chen said she was shocked when she received a letter sent home with Coghlan Fundamental Elementary students on Friday outlining the new hands-off rule.
“I can’t imagine little kids not being able to hug each other or help each other on the playground,” Chen told CTV News. “No tag, no hugging, no touching at all.”
The letter blames the ban on playground injuries that have resulted from games and other forms of hands-on play during recess.
It calls on parents to talk to their children about the ban and encourage them to play imaginary games that don’t involve fighting.
“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,” it reads.
School district spokesman Ken Hoff said Coghlan Fundamental was simply responding to parents’ complaints about rough play during recess, and that students won’t be severally penalized for slipping up.
“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.”
Hoff said the school intends to start from a zero-touching approach and gradually reintroduce appropriate playground behaviour.
Parents like Chen feel it’s still too extreme.
“I get that kids have to have rules but at some point, where do we draw the line?” she said. “I am not going to tell my daughter she can’t touch her friends at school. I am going to teach her boundaries.”
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Shannon Paterson