Did the Alabama school board list tag, kickball, dodgeball, and other childhood favorites as inappropriate activities?


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For many kids, playing Red Rover, dodgeball, and kickball were probably some of their favorite memories of grade school. But games that you spent playing at recess and gym class may be one of the activities that the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) has reportedly deemed inappropriate.

A guidance document released two years ago recently caught parents’ attention on Tuesday when it was shared in a since-deleted Facebook post on the Auburn University at Montgomery Physical Education Program page.

As per AL.com, much of the document remained in the Alabama Physical Education Instructional Guide, which was recently removed. The guide listed 18 activities that were deemed either dangerous for a child’s physical safety, consisted of minimal participation, or could possibly lead to ridicule or embarrassment.

The games listed as inappropriate are:

  • Crack the Whip
  • Dodgeball
  • Doggy Doggy, Where‘s Your Bone?
  • Duck-Duck-Goose
  • Four Corners
  • Heads-up, Seven-up
  • Line soccer
  • Kickball
  • Messy Backyard
  • Musical Chairs
  • Pinball
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • Red Rover
  • Relay races
  • Simon Says
  • Spud
  • Steal the Bacon
  • Tag (without modifications)

The reasoning for the exclusion of the games vary. In the instance of Duck-Duck-Goose, ALSDE reportedly stated it is “a game of minimal participation, the chosen ‘goose’ attempts to get up from a sitting position and try to catch the ‘ducker’ who only has to go about 60 feet and already had a full running head start. Everyone else just sits and screams at ear-shattering pitch and decibel levels.”

It also states that there is nothing that justifies dodgeball, “where a student or students are targets of thrown objects.”

After the Facebook post went viral, according to AL.com, Alabama’s state superintendent of schools Eric Mackey addressed the controversy, saying in a meeting with superintendents statewide: “It is completely up to you which games you play. There is no directive about which games you can and cannot play. Go back, tell your principals to take care of their own P.E. problems, please.”

Mackey told AL.com: “I can assure you that particular list is not going back up as long as I’m state superintendent.”

So it looks like kids will still be able to clothesline their peers in a round of Red Rover, as long as their gym teacher gives them the go-ahead.

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