Nanny State of Play? Another Tag Ban

"The value of children organizing their own play is incredible," she said. "Nobody ever watched me play tag. Kids got hurt and sometimes kids got their feelings hurt. Kids have to learn to tolerate frustration."

Is Risk a Bad Thing?

There have been several high-profile examples of similar tag policies in the past few years, including at schools in Massachusetts, Oregon, California and Washington state.

David Harsanyi, author of the book "Nanny State," has taken on the topic of tag bans in the past, among other critiques of what he considers overarching policymaking.

"There's this hyper-risk aversion, this idea that kids should never fall down, never get hurt," he said, adding that the possibility of a lawsuit by the parent of an injured student can also drive principals to tighten playground rules.

But to Harsanyi, decisions like Hooker's strip adolescents not only of fun but of the realities of life.

"Tag is a spontaneous kind of event," he said. "When you make it into the Department of Running Around, you're extracting any kind of enjoyment."

When Fun Morphs Into Danger

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education officially opposes dodgeball at school, specifically because the "students who are eliminated first in dodgeball are typically the ones who most need to be active," according to the organization's position paper.

Fran Cleland, NASPE president and a professor of kinesiology at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, said she could identify with Hooker's decision to temporarily halt tag.

"What is happening is these kids are taking an activity out of the context of what the game traditionally is," Cleland told ABC News.

While acknowledging that the goal is not to have everything structured by teachers, Cleland said students need guidance on the appropriate boundaries in a game of tag.

"These kids have taken it to another level," she said. "If they want to play it in a safe way, OK, but they're playing it in some sort of NFL-type of way."

Donna Thompson, the president of the National Program for Playground Safety, agreed with Cleland that kids need to be taught how to appropriately touch one another and that behavior should be supervised, but stopped short of endorsing a blanket ban of the game.

"It makes no sense for me to say 'kids can't play,'" Thompson said. "They need some time to get out and practice what they've learned in physical education."

Thompson suggests asking the teachers in charge of recess to give up their free periods, placing the blame on the educators who oversee recess rather than the children at play.

"They don't teach how to play; they go talk to each other about who got kicked off of 'Dancing with the Stars,'" Thompson said.

"So we're not going to have tag," she said. "Pretty soon we're not going to have play."

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