By Virginia Postrel
No roughhousing. No superhero games. No turning your fingers – or your Pop-Tart – into a make-believe gun. No tag. And certainly no dodgeball.
Stories of zero-tolerance play-policing by schools are a well-established news genre.
Most recently, parents in Washington state mounted a successful campaign to force the Mercer Island School District to reverse its ban on playing tag during “unstructured playtime,” or what used to be called recess. In his backpedaling press release, district superintendent Gary Plano puzzlingly insisted that “asking students to keep their hands and feet to themselves at all times, including recess” wasn’t a ban on tag.