Defending Swing sets
Sometimes in life you have to choose your battles and stand by your beliefs no matter how dumb some of them may seem. This is one such occasion and it's really sad to me that it is even a topic. Two nearby school districts recently banned swing sets on school playgrounds. In trying to explain their actions, a spokeswomen for one of the districts said, "It's a preventative measure to ensure kids are safer at school. Some kids do fall off the swings and get injured and there are some liability issues with those injuries."
Well school districts, if you think that removing swings will stop a lawsuit, you have just opened up a Pandora's toy box. When will it end? I know...let's ban pencils and pens in our class rooms and go back to slate boards and chalk so no child will get their eye poked out by a flying pencil. I still have my school war wound of a pencil lead tip embedded in the palm of my hand when the class clown threw a pencil across the room. That was 30 years ago but maybe I should talk to a lawyer about possible lead poisoning. Do they have a statue of limitations for pencil crimes?
And what about paper? For a school district to allow paper anywhere near our children is nothing less than irresponsible. I don't want any child to have to endure the severe, almost unbearable agony of paper cuts. Perhaps we should get rid of physical education since a child could pull a muscle doing...exercise!
What has happened to our society when it allows someone to sue for the most ridiculous things? When we succumb to that we suffer the consequence by having our privileges slowly taken away from us. I never thought I would be calling a swing set a privilege, but when you see that something has been taken away or there is a threat that it will be taken away from you, you realize that you took it for granted. Yes...even swings.
When I was a child I can't remember how many scrapes and bruises I got from trying to "fly" off a swing, how many times I got sick to my stomach spinning on a merry go round (another classic, now extinct), trying to do the impossible on a jungle gym and just plain tripping over my own feet. Kids don't always make the best judgments calls as every parent knows, but they should be allowed to learn from their mistakes and just be kids.
When my children get hurt, I give them a hug, a kiss, dress their cut and put a band aid on it. Depending on what they did, I tell them not to do it again and I don't think about whom I can sue and how much money I can get out of it. I can't help but wonder if our school district will put our campus swings on the chopping block next. It is my hope that we do not buckle under the pressure of these other school districts.
I know it seems kind of silly to say that I'm going to fight for the future of swing sets, but I honestly never thought swings would ever be banned. It just sounds ridiculous to even think that. I want my toddler and all children to enjoy the playground swings as I did when I was a young and they should have that opportunity. I hope that my town has the guts to stand up strong and let our kids be kids. I hope my town lets our kids have good, clean, unstructured fun...just swinging away.
If not...I may sue!
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