Parents Question No Running Policy on Tuscan School Playground

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A school policy prohibiting running on the blacktop at Tuscan School has prompted concerned reactions from a number of parents who report they were unaware of the policy.

In November, parents of Tuscan students say that they started getting word from children that they were being prohibited from running at recess. According to a parent who spoke to The Village Green on the condition of anonymity, parents started asking the school leadership and district administration for an explanation. Another parent wrote on the Tuscan Families Facebook page that she was working to schedule a roundtable on the issue to include district staff.

On December 9, yet another parent reported receiving this message from the school and shared it with others:

Tuscan students have never been granted permission to play tag or run around the blacktop during recess.

The safety, health and well-being of our students are our top priority and we are acutely mindful of our current student enrollment and physical space limitations at Tuscan. Granting permission for 88 – 125 children to run around on the blacktop during their grade level recess would be chaotic and unsafe.

Although running around the blacktop during recess is not permitted, Lunch Monitors do not always strictly enforce compliance. However, administration, teachers and lunch monitors will provide safety reminders about running and prohibit running from time to time to encourage safe play on the blacktop.

Please know that our district’s Supervisor of Health, Physical Education and Nursing Judy LoBianco is working on providing Lunch Monitors with resources and options for appropriate physical activities to ensure that students have a safe and rewarding recess experience.

A Tuscan parent, who asked that his name not be used, told The Village Green, “The administration seems to be concerned that our children will fall and get hurt, but I would rather have my child learn to get up after she falls rather than being told she can’t run.” He added that parents were frustrated by a lack of communication from the school.

The Village Green sent an email request about the policy to South Orange-Maplewood School District staff on November 25, but has not yet received a response.

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