Robot 6

Preschool bans kids from playing superheroes

Man of Steel

Man of Steel

Once more, it appears, Fredric Wertham may have been right.

For the latest evidence, look no further than a Philadelphia preschool, which has purportedly banned “wrestling, Super Hero play, and Monster games,” because they’re resulting in injury.

Reddit user Oremar posted a May 17 letter (below) brought home by his son that states, “Recently it has come to our attention that the imaginations of our preschool children are becoming dangerously overactive causing injuries within our pre-k community. Although we encourage creative thinking and imaginary play, we do not promote out [sic] children hurting one another. Wrestling, Super Hero play, and Monster games will not be permitted here at [name redacted]. In addition, please monitor the different media that your children may view. The re-enactment of televisions [sic] shows/movies are being done during active paly [sic] times in school.”

Or, in the words of the parent, “So my son came home and told me make-believe was not allowed at school anymore.”

When ROBOT 6 contacted the preschool this afternoon, an employee said she was unable to verify the letter, referring us instead to the facility’s director, who was unavailable.

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50 Comments

Wow. If my daughter brought that letter home from school… yikes.

…Sincerely,

Dr. Darkseid, Headmaster

Prof. Desaad, Vice Principal

Lt. Granny Goodness, School Resource Officer

Boo.

Having said that, I’d recommend cleaning up the redactions in the photo if you want to mask the school’s identity. With a little bit of squinting and a Google check, it’s pretty easy to identify which preschool this is. (The spelling isn’t much better on its website. Sigh.)

What happened to the good old days when kids were playing cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers?!?!?!

(Or, in my case, GI Joe vs Cobra.)

what’s “paly” time?

im pretty sure its fake.

This looks a 100% fake.

The sentence that closes the first paragraph is horrid.

I blame Speedball.

Let’s ban soccer/football too! I’m sure if you were to check out statistics there would be far more soccer/football related injuries than pretend super-heroes.

While I have no idea whether or not this letter is fake, don’t allow poor spelling or grammar to cloud your judgement. The New York Daily News has posted many letters from school officials over the years that contained errors that were horrifying. And the errors were on the level of “paly”

I would assume that this is not the fault of the pre-school in question.
Instead, it is either (or a mix thereof) over zealous parents or insurance companies.

Wow this has got to be the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard, and then there are multiple misspellings from the school? and they don’t want kids to have an active imagination ?

If real, time to get school vouchers and get the heck out of that school. I WANT my pre-schoolers having an overactive imagination!!

So to the parents of America
I am the derringer aimed at little Erica
To attack her character
The ring leader of the circus of worthless pawns
Sent to lead the march right up to the steps of Congress
And piss on the lawns of the White House
To burn the casket and replace it with a parental advisory sticker
To spit liquor in the faces of this democracy of hypocrisy
**** you Ms. Cheney
**** you tipper Gore
**** you with the free-ness of speech this
Divided states of embarrassment will allow me to have
**** you!

Ha ha ha! I’m just playin’ America, you know I love you

My fiancée is starting to do some work in the day care/child care/extended care/pre-school/kindergarten field and, unfortunately, this kind of thing is not uncommon.

With kids virtually unable to be kids anymore, its starting to become less and less a wonder to me why some of them flip the F out.

James Crankyman

May 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm

@Adam,

I don’t think they want to redact it too much. I think that they want people to get involved.

This is beyond most levels of suckage that I thought were possible for new “safe” school rules. Back in 1990, I had a teacher who was eventually fired after teaching innocuous pop/rock music to middle-schoolers and had been doing it for the better part of a decade and was honored for her teaching (and deservedly so, since she’s one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had) with the state’s highest honor.

Talk about counter-productivity as well. I know that there are many schools that don’t mind chipping away at imagination, but totally obliterating it… it’s bad for the kids and the teachers. The only people this truly protects are any board members who might have legal action taken against them because some asshat parent decides to sue because the kid was playing Thor and decided to jump off the monkey bars and plants face-first on the wood chips. Or do they use wood chips anymore?

I work at a preschool, and we had to do the same thing. Imagination is allowed without a doubt, but when the fake fighting turns to kids punching each other in the noses? Not allowed. Not cool. And it switches really fast.

As far as the monster thing goes, here’s our problem with it: They always pick the same kid to be monster and then they won’t let him/her stop being monster. Even when we intervene, they keep taunting that particular kid and we have to start assigning time-outs.

And the kid they pick? Usually it’s the kid that’s a little socially awkward; probably from a dysfunctional home or someone who’s smaller than everyone else.

You know what that translates into? Bullying.

lastcrazyhorn, you make some valid points. But I think this sort of thing needs to be taken on a case my case basis. That is, if the kids are pretending to fly or roar, then everything’s cool. But if there’s actual punching, or if a kid is being singled out as the monster, I think that goes beyond just playing. Had the above letter said that such play will be tolerated only to the point of everyone being safe and no further, I don’t think many people would object to the letter.

At our school, roaring and flying is fine, but once you start play fighting, it’s over. And cops and robbers is fine. Hell, we even let them do cowboys and Indians (we are in Texas, after all). :)

If the above letter is legit, which I suspect it is (daycare employees are not famous for great spell checking – ha, at least not some of my coworkers), then I agree with you, Andy. They should have clarified perhaps a bit better. But that goes under the category of, they should have edited their spelling and we see how well that went.

One more thing, we let the kids play monster from time to time, but ONLY if the kid who’s the monster has volunteered for that position him or herself.

Shoot… if they told me as a pre-schooler I couldn’t dress up as a super-hero, I would dress up as Batman and start beating kids and teachers up.

@glorious0ne

Not quite sure why you would need a voucher to change preschools. You would just move them to another school. Obviously the money is well spent at this place. Nice what you can do when you don’t have to follow the same curriculum and safety standards as a public school.

If this is the preschool you chose, based on the letter and the website, spelling isn’t too important.

It’s pretty funny how so many of you are mortified at this, yet when it’s your child who is hit by another student with shovel who is pretending he is Thor, opinions change. Unless you have a one to one ratio, no school can monitor all actions between the kids. Although this school is obviously somewhat lame, the sentiment is coming from the right place. They want the kids to be safe.

I’ve seen a 8 year old jump off playground equipment and break his leg imitating Rey Mysterio.

@ James Crankyman

No wood chips. At least in California.

@Batman

Now, there is an intelligent response. Glad to see you play well with others.

I am a kindergarten teacher and have taught both preschool and kindergarten, as well as been a vice principal and administrator for 12 years total. I have absolutely ALWAYS advocated for superheroes IN the classroom. Superhero play is a boys version of playing ‘house’ or ‘princesses.’ Girls are not banned from playing those things correct?

God created boys to be boys and girls to be girls. We have been designed to like different things. For this reason, boys love to be Spider-Man and Hulk. Girls love to even jump in on the fun and be Storm and Invisible Woman.

My thoughts are a bit rambling because I honestly could probably write a book on this topic. If you read any early childhood education collegiate textbook, you will see entire sections devoted to “rough and tumble” play. It’s an essential form of play in order for boys (and girls) to develop. They need to physically be able to wrestle, roll down hills, get grass stains on their jeans, and use their minds to imagine swinging from skyscrapers.

My entire classroom is decked out in superheros! Large poster of Marvel heroes, window clings, wall clings, action figures, light fixtures, etc. Our entire year revolves around learning everything they need to – through learning about superheroes! The kids have a great time and guess what…THEY LEARN! They are INTERESTED in school and not bored our of their minds because they learn about apples…seriously…who in the world cares about apples? No kindergartener that I know of! :)

Look at how many young kids are diagnosed with ADHD these days? How many were diagnosed 20 years ago? I believe there are a variety of reasons but one of the BIGGEST reasons is because of how we teach our children. We expect them to sit for HOURS AND HOURS. They can’t talk, they shouldn’t move, they just need to learn so the test scores look good. Recess has been cut or is extremely short. Gym is short or has been cut. Art? LOL That class was gone years ago. The curriculum is ridiculously inappropriate and too difficult. Give them medicine and they’ll fall in line. I say NO! Don’t drug them up. Let them wrestle! Let them run around the room in a cape! Let them dress up when they come to school! Let them have a teeter totter and jungle gym again!

That’s a long rant. It’s something I’m very passionate about.

Damn. Back when I was a kid playing super-heroes on the playground, we had self-imposed limitations on the fighting to make sure no one was actually physically hit and that no-one got hurt. We’d cheat it like stuntmen on “Batman ’66″ – your “blow” would pass an inch or two from the target and the other guy would pretend to have gotten hit. When “Kung-Fu” and “The Six Million Dollar Man” came along, we added our own slow-mo effects to the playground fight scenes.

We didn’t want anyone to get hurt AND we didn’t want to scare the adults in a way that would lead them to overreact and put a stop to our playing.

Well ya know somethin bruthers when I see all those little Hulkamaniacs having to sit quietly and not express their imaginations and creativity ya know it really bothers the old Hulkster. Way back in the day bruther when I was just a little Hulkawannabe my imagination had me facing down all the greats in wrestling history. Hour after hour me and my Hulkabuddies would slam around the living room jumping on furniture and hit each other with pillows. Sometimes we scraped a knee or an elbow. Sometimes we even bumped our heads but that only made us play harder. So I am calling on all you ageing Hulkamaniacs out there to say your prayers, eat your vitamins and send this preschool a letter voiceing your anger over this decision because whatchayagonnado when the Hulkamagination runs wild on you!!!!!!!!

right. hinder the kids from being kids. what a moronic school! Instead of teaching them and guiding them about the difference of reality and imagination, they stop the kids from being one. tsk!

Eliot Johnson

May 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Silver lining: who doesn’t love seeing Ed Benes artwork defaced?

And the pussification of america continues….

No signature? No letterhead? This is either fake or the administrators are incompetents.

Superman's Pal

May 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm

What’s disturbing is: “imaginations of our preschool children are becoming dangerously overactive”. What does this mean, exactly?!

Schools are forced to ban certain activities for one reason: parent complaints.

Don’t blame the school who have likely had legal threats from parents over this issue, or a call from their local Education Minister asking why they’ve received a complaint from a parent.

At my school we recently had to ban headstands in the playground after a student fell over and broke their collarbone. Did the parent consider that children are renowned for breaking bones during play? No the parent put in a formal complaint to the school, alleging poor supervision, and sued the school for medical costs. When I was a kid I broke my finger playing with my brother – I didn’t sue him. It was part of growing up.

Schools ban things because one parent complains, and other students suffer as well as teachers’ who will end up going through a lengthy and stressful process where their professionalism is called into question.

Blame yourselves.

This happened in the 90s at my daughter’ kindergarten, and they banned all Power Rangers’ play. I think Power Rangers ended up cutting back on the fighting scenes around that time, so must have been a nation wide issue(?). Power Rangers seems to have lots of fighting in it now, but I don’t think it plays in the morning before kids go to school (which it did when my girls went).

Chris Schillig

May 22, 2013 at 2:55 am

If the real issues are fighting and bullying, why not send home a letter addressing THOSE problems, instead of targeting imaginative play?

well the problem is obvious. They are using pre-new 52 DC characters for their letter. if they use new 52 characters, they would be far less violent

but this “imaginations of our preschool children are becoming dangerously overactive” leads me to assume Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends needs to intervene. Or the Powerpuff Girls.

All kidding aside, I remember back when I was a kid and the 90s X-men cartoon and Power Rangers were big, and we’d playfight during recess all the time. No one ever actually got hurt, and if we did it was just playing. It never became too violent that we’d have bruises or anything. This seems like an obvious overreaction.

This whole thing reminds me of a book I read a while ago called, “Killing Monsters” by Gerard Jones, and suggested that the play kids do that we find most terrifying (playing with imaginary guns to kill monsters for example) are actually helpful and stopping them from this type of imaginative play could actually be more destructive than what the people against it intend.

Yes, nothing more dangerous than an overactive imagination. lol. If this is real it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.

I am in the process of becoming an art teacher for an elementary school & this really disheartens me… Almost as much as the multiple typos in the letter.

in other words kids now can’t even use their imagination just have to sit and be quiet and be little drones. plus the school could be afraid of fun leading to some lawsuit happy person suing if junior gets hurt. but mostly this school sounds like it finds kids having fun and being normal kids. wrong .

Pfah. A few years ago, my kid fell out of a tree at her pre-K and broke her arm. I took a **** happens approach to that and I otherwise don’t have a problem with her climbing trees.

Reminds me of a King of the Hill episode where Hank finds out that Bobby’s scout troop is usuing rubber knives. The scoutmaster says, “You don’t want Bobby getting cut, do you Hank?” Hank: “I don’t know…a little?”

I would FREAK if my sister brought this letter home. Unbelievable.

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often. Schools or day care programs are so worried about lawsuits if kids are injured. Any sort of horseplay results in kids getting hurt, but now parents go crazy if Little Jimmy or Suzy gets a bump.

I was a karate instructor with a lot of kids’ programs and our head instructor at least 3-5 times a year had to meet with parents, school principals or day care staff over things the kids had done. Just because a kid had taken a few karate classes, if they did any roughhousing at all at school or day care, they were seen as being a vicious.

A lot of the time kids who are being bullied or picked on end up taking karate lessons, they fight back and get punished.

One of the biggest problems our karate school had was with a 7th grade girl that had a boy harassing her, but was suspended when she hit the little jerk when he touched her breasts, and was the one in trouble for being aggressive retaliating. There was no proof he touched her, but everyone saw her hit him, so she was the only one that got in trouble.

Superheroes do encourage kids to stand up for themselves and fight back, but then schools/day care tells kids to not be tattletales and handle things amongst themselves. Usually this means to submit to the social pecking order established at the school/day care.

Denis Raymond

May 22, 2013 at 11:20 am

The documentary ”Waiting for Superman” back in the news.

How about taking away the soda & juice from the kids lunches that might stop the hyperactivity. Let the kids use their imaginations to pretend to be superheroes because some kid is going to think, “Well I can’t be a superhero I’ll go gangsta instead”. That will be so much better. Kids get hurt so why don’t you do your job and watch the kids.
Btw, wrestling is different from playing superheroes or monsters.

God forbid these kids foster their imaginations! Oh, no! Free thinkers! I’d rather they pretend to be superheroes and monsters than learn the thug life.

It is unfortunate that this is happening but I have had personal experience with my own son who is ADHD and borderline Autistic where he acts out and repeats everything that he sees or hears. I love comics and superheroes and have watched a lot of those things with my kids. One day we found out he was insisting that his teacher call him Two-Face and that he would also rip another child’s face off. I do not think that the school should ban these things but parents need to be responsible with the media that they let their children view. Whenever he gets to agitated because he has been watching superheroes we let him know it is time to cut back for a while.
When I was a kid we had the Superfriends. Things have gotten a lot more mature since then. It is good to have imagination but when imagination leads to the darker side of what comics try to inspire us to be against we need to look how we are teaching and raising our kids.

The whole thing comes across as incredibly misguided to me.

I teach 3/4th grade, so the everday problems that can arise out of play fighting are definitely not alien to me. That being said, I don’t think an outright ban is the way to go here. As others have pointed out, educators should be willing and able to deal with this on a cwse-by-case basis.

When my kids started going too rough on each other when “wrestling”, I called for a time-out and explained to them in no uncertain terms how dangerous pro wrestling moves are and that wrestlers are pretty much stuntmen. Therefore, all moves that involve someone being thrown or hit/dropped on their head or neck are strictly forbidden. The kids get it and act accordingly. I see no reason to go beyond that. Insinuating that parents are doing a poor job of controlling their kids’ media consumption is certainly going not one, but several steps too far. This is asking for pushback.

Christopher Chance

May 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Pure stupidity! Just as bad as Seduction of the innocent was with comics. People!!! political correctness = WRONG!!!!! Banning Superhero play would remove inspiration to youngsters to be heroic and affect their morality in choosing right and wrong. Thisi s more crap from the left to indoctrinate our kids into being brainless zombies who obey the government’s every word! It is wrong, it stifles kids imaginations and pushes them towards other more violent outlets. Fantasy play is normal and natural, they aret rying to make our kids less than human beings with this effort. They need to be sued and stopped!

Please don’t blame the “left.” Far right governments have created many “brainless zombies” to ignore many genocides of our history.

Play IS an important part of education but unfortunately our litigious society has made it hard to teach. Everyone is so happy to make lawyers rich!

I find it crazy that schools are not using spell-check and an old secretary or English teacher!

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