No touching. No playing tag. No playing pattycakes. No hand-holding. No 'high fives.' And definitely no Star Wars games. Any kindergarten student at Coghlan Fundamental School in Langley who breaches the rule will earn a trip to the principal's office.
Parents of kindergarten students at the Langley school learned of the new rule in a letter sent home on Friday. The parents of kindergarten students have mixed feelings about the rule that will ban innocent forms of contact between children on the playground.
The school was surprised after the rule received coverage in the B.C. media. Any student who engages in any form of touching can end up not only going to the principal's office but can be forced to miss some playtime.
Ken Hoff, a spokesman for the Langley School District, said, "Some kids were getting hurt out there. For these students, school is something new and this is a short-term measure taken to educate kids around appropriate playground play." Although the 'Star Wars game' appeared to be the main concern, all forms of touching have been banned.
Hoff assured parents and others that the school will not be banning Christmas next.
Barb Dayco, principal of the school, said, "We had a few children who have been injured on the playground and we felt that as young as they are, we needed some time to teach them how to play safely."
Dayco went on to say, "holding hands can be positive and it can be negative. We would like to teach them how to make contact in a positive way. Not to grab someone's hand, drag them along, but to hold their hand in a positive way."
Opinions are divided. Julie Chen, whose daughter goes to Coghlan said, "When I saw no hands-on would be allowed, I just got mad, I got so upset. What is happening to our society when our kids aren't even allowed to be kids anymore?"
But Arthur Bourke, who works at the school, said, "I don't know how anyone would be against this. They're trying to make it safe for everybody. They do a tremendous job of making sure everyone if safe. It's something we have to do—if we don't control it, it will get out of hand."
It is unsure exactly how the rule will be enforced. Teachers will have to differentiate between the kindergarten students who can't and the kids in other grades who can.