elementary school bans tag
An Santa Monica, California elementary school has forbidden its students from playing tag. Letters to the parents alternately cited safety concerns and self-esteem issues. The policy allows the game with adult supervision.
This story reminded me of "Harrison Bergeron," a story written by the dour science fiction writer and satirist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. that I first read back in grade school. It concerns a future in which Americans are finally equal because individuals with any physical or mental advantages wear handicaps (weights for the strong, masks for the pretty, distracting noisemakers for the intelligent, all TV announcers have speech impediments--don't take my word for it; I linked it, go read it!). I was struck even then by the absurdity of the physical handicaps, but rereading the story just now I noticed that certain equalizers, like masks, were in place to prevent anyone else from feeling inferior. In other words, it isn't enough that people are mandated to have the same physical and mental capacity; the system goes to great lengths to conceal beauty, intelligence, and grace in order to protect the self-esteem of people with less of those gifts. Now here's the punch line: Vonnegut published the story in 1961!
Update: ESPN columnist says "We are one step closer toward raising a generation of paste-devouring Ralph Wiggums." (via FARK)