British Columbia

Playground touching ban defended by school principal

A B.C. school principal is defending her schools new no-touching policy for kindergarten students, saying it's about teaching kids how to be safe, and play well together.

Coghlan Fundamental Elementary bans fighting games, tag and holding hands

Playground touching ban defended

10 years ago
Duration 2:24
Featured VideoCoghlan Fundamental Elementary bans fighting, tag, holding hands

A B.C. principal is defending her school's new no-touching policy for kindergarten students, saying it's about teaching kids how to be safe and play well together.

On Friday, Coghlan Fundamental Elementary School in Langley informed parents of a number of injuries on the playground and laid out the new hands-off policy.

Henceforth any activities involving touching in the playground were banned for kindergarten students, include tag, holding hands and any sort of fighting games such as "Star Wars games."

Penalties include being grounded during playtime, or a trip to the office.

Principal Barb Dayco says the new no-touch policy is necessary for the safety of kindergarten students.

"We had a few children who had 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."

She says even holding hands in a school playground can put children at risk.            

"The hand-holding it can be positive and it can be negative. We wanted to teach them how to make contact in a positive way. Not to grab someone's hand and drag them along, but to hold their hand in a positive way."

Parents' reactions regrettable

Dayco said she wishes that parents upset at learning of the new policy via a letter would have come to speak to her, before approaching the media.

That's because she would have told them it's just a temporary measure, designed to teach their children to play safely.

But one mother who went public with her complaint says the school just went too far.

Parent Julie Chen said she learned of the policy when she found a letter to parents in her child's backpack on Friday.

"I was upset. I couldn't believe they would send us parents something like this."

Coglhan Fundamental Elementary School in Langley, B.C., has a zero tolerance policy on playground touching for four- and five-year-olds. (Langley School District)

Coghlan is a fundamental school, which has more rules and more structure than other public schools. Chen said she accepts that, and likes it, but believes the new rule goes too far.

"You know now, you are just trying kind of to control them, and contain them, so they don't do anything out of the norm."

Read the full letter

Coghlan Elementary School sent home a letter to parents on Friday advising them of the new policy. (CBC)