When Julie Holcombe’s 12-year-old twin sons got in trouble for climbing trees on school property after school hours, she did what a lot of us would like to do. She wrote a letter to the school explaining that kids need to play and that she supports and encourages their tree-climbing.
The boys and friends were told by some school official that they had to stop playing and he asked for their names to report to their principal. The guy told the kids that if they fell and got hurt, the school would be responsible and could get sued. When their mom heard about it, she wanted school officials to understand how she feels, so she wrote a letter and a “permission slip” to say her boys could play outside after school.
She wrote, “I can think of few things better than knowing they are spending their time playing outside in the fresh air, taking advantage of the beautiful playground nature can provide, getting exercise, using their imagination, chatting with their squad of friends, all while climbing a tree.” Since kids have less time outside to run around and exert physical energy these days, we should be happy when they do get to play and aren’t inside with a screen in their face. And that was this mom’s point. She addressed the issue of the potential lawsuit if the boys were hurt, and wrote the permission slip, freeing them from any responsibility.
When she posted it all on her Facebook page, she warned readers that it was a “soapbox moment” and that she thinks in general, parents are too quick to blame schools and teachers for problems with their kids. But that this situation was different. They were only climbing a tree, for Pete’s sake.
I agree with this Mom. Yes – the boys COULD have fallen and COULD have been hurt. But, that’s also like saying their Ipad or laptops could drop and land on their face. What’s worse, is when my son returned from school saying that he had seen a number of naked women on his Grade 1 school ipad. We’re talking Penthouse type images. He’s 6 – and I can’t take that back. Those images and all that comes with them are now in his head and as much as I try to explain things and tell him why this is wrong – it’s out there…and the school is responsible for not blocking, protecting and safe guarding our children.
While schools are worried about things like tree climbing, tobogganing, tag, etc – what they should REALLY be doing is safe guarding our kids from the stuff that can ACTUALLY do some harm.