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ride on the peace maze


When I rule the world (give me a day or so until slutpublican.us goes live), I will outlaw dumb legistlations, rules and regulations and the school administrators and teachers who enact them in the name of our children.

Try wrapping your mind around this one, reported by Tongue Tied:

Officials at Neshaminy School District will install "peace mazes" at its eight elementary schools. Kids on the verge of violence will be asked to wander through the mazes’ seven steps of "conflict resolution" and think about their anger for a spell.

Team captains are banned, as is the game tag. The latter will be replaced with something called "Motion Pictures" in which photographs of different points around the school playground are placed in a basket and kids will be expected to pluck out a photo and scramble off to tag it before returning. Team captains are also banned, as are any sports that don't stress inclusiveness.

"We want to offer lots of options on the playground. We want to say, 'Think about what you might like to do at recess.' "

We are raising a nation of sissies. Our kids will not know how to be competitive. They will not know how to take charge and lead. They will not be able to resolve conflict because the schools have taken aim to see that they never get into any conflicts. These kids will have no coping skills whatsover because they never have to cope with anything.

Unfortunately, too many of these kids go home to parents who think the same way as the school administrators. This all-inclusive, no competition, no winning or losing, no getting angry policy of raising and schooling kids is going to cause great problems for these children in the future.

Now that recess and playtime have been turned into yet another object lesson, the kids in this district lose yet another chance to just be kids. When is free time? When do you get to be aggressive and physically work the kinks out of your day? When do kids get to drop the pretenses of learning, doing, scheduling and obeying by being able to run, scream, shout and play with reckless abandon?

You know what happens when you don't let kids loose, when you take away their right to act their age or be better than someone else at something or be able to win, place or show? Or what happens when kids aren't allowed to feel what it's like to lose or cry or feel bad express their anger?

They don't make for very good adults, that's what.

Neshaminy is trying to tame recess, to make it accessible to nerds, to make it a place where there are no skinned knees or bloody noses or hurt feelings. No one's really better than anyone else at anything. Everyone's "sensitive."

Guess what? I was a nerd. I had plenty of hurt feelings and I was left out and picked last and I sucked at every team sport imaginable.

I learned how to lose properly. I learned how to cope with feeling sad or dejected. I learned how to accept the things I can and cannot do. There were no rules on the playground. We were tagged so hard we fell down, we were kicked in the shins and had rocks thrown at our backs all in full view of teachers. Kids ran here, there and everywhere and used their imaginations to turn the schoolyard into an alligator swamp or a jungle and some poor kid was always the wild animal who got shot by the fierce hunter.

If you are never on the losing end of things, if your life is laid out before you in one peaceful maze after another you will never, ever learn how to handle the grownup life.

[added after another cup of coffee]:

And another thing. If a kid is acting up or hurting another kid or bullying, a walk in a peaceful maze just does not cut it. Oh, you've been a terrible child today, Johnny. Go walk in through that series of winding paths and think about what you've done!

No. You take Johnny off of the playground and sit his ass in the principal's office and you do that every day until Johnny has felt like he received some kind of punishment for his behavior and perhaps he will think twice about doing it again.

And if your kid acts up at home, you don't pull him aside and say "let's talk about your feelings, sweetie. Tell me why you felt the urge to smack your sister in the face the video game controller. Is something wrong?"

No. You tell the kid to apologize to his sister and then you unplug his Playstation for about a week and just to dig it in a little further, you let his sister stay up an extra half an hour past her bedtime.

Someone has to straighten these people out before all of our kids turn into sniveling, whining, spoiled brats.


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I miss playing Smear. That game rocked, and I probably suffered minor brain damage each time I was tackled, but that was part of its charm.

I guess I'm just lucky because where I work they have a peace maze I can go to when things get too rough or I can just assume the fetal position in my ergonomically friendly chair.

i'd pull my kid out of that school district so fast he'd get whiplash. how could you ever get a job, with all of the competitiveness trained out of you? much less an education? a date? a home? a promotion? how will leaders ever learn that they can lead, if they can't be team captains?

my bet is they all totally snap, one nice spring day in 2025, and kill the rest of us with uzi's.

I think for a lot of these kids, being denied their basic playground instincts will push them to even more violent behavior. How on earth did public schools get taken over by Utopianists?

I always found that not having many rules on the playground let us rapidly develop informal rules about how much we all could take. After some skinned knees and sprained ankles, we figured out where the lines were and no one got more than bumps and bruises after that.

I was never the team captain because, in addition to being a geek, I was fat and slow. I was rarely the winner at games like dodgeball or capture the flag. However, it taught me three things:

1,) to hate losing
2.) to cope with losing gracefully when it happens
3.) that I will have to work harder and smarter in order not to lose.

Just one more thing to raise my blood pressure today!

My guess is that the school district will be investing in mass quantities of ritalin in the near future as well.

I wish we had dodgeball at work. I especially liked the full court version called Battleball! Free-throw like to Freethrow line--you could really smack somebody with a cheap shot. Taught us to watch our backs as well as our fronts + teamwork. Mamby-Pamby pictures in a bucket doesn't teach any of that. Rejection and loosing are part of the real world. The sooner someone learns of this, the sooner he or she learns to deal with it.

Perry prompted me to repost my recollections on Dodge Ball. I, too, miss that game terribly.

"They will not be able to resolve conflict because the schools have taken aim to see that they never get into any conflicts."

"Kids on the verge of violence will be asked to wander through the mazes’ seven steps of 'conflict resolution'"

Other than that,I pretty much agree.
Permanent Dodgeball welts.

It called Tenure.

Stepford children...

I think the maze should have no true exit, and many false ones. That'll teach a kid about reality and what they can expect out of the world.

What amazes ME is that these Utopian assholes actually THINK that this will work. The kids -- well, the regular ol' kids, anyway -- will figure it out for themselves.

When my boys played soccer, some idiot decided that the league wouldn't officially keep score at the games -- "so The Children™ won't feel the pain of losing" or some such bullshit -- and guess what? EVERY CHILD ON THE FIELD knew what the "score" was. My point is -- these asshats can attempt to make the playground a Socialist Stepford Zone -- the kids will see right through it.

Kids are far more resilient than for which we give them credit. Yes, this is STOOPID as hell, but in the long run, I'm not worried. Much.

nervous laugh

What will happen under this approach? Hell, this sort of thing has been happening since the early 90s, and you can already see the results.

I still keep in touch with the anime club that I belonged to in college - I spend a lot of time talking to the undergrads who currently make up the club on the club's messageboard. My wife (who occasionally looks in as well) and I have seen what happens when you try to shield kids from conflict - these young people have the thinnest skins imaginable. They go ballistic whenever anyone says anything that can be in any way construed as a personal attack or simply too direct of a challenge. It's to the point where the current president of the club actually banned discussion of serious issues from the socializing/"other" part of the board (though he has since relented a bit).

I was yet another awkward child - geeky/"too smart", decidedly unathletic, very introverted. I spent much of my early childhood outside the US, so I was extra out of it; I was actually bigger than most of the other kids, so nobody would believe me that I didn't start the fight; and I took myself so seriously that I flew off the handle whenever anyone teased me at all, even in a friendly manner. In this day and age, I would be pumped full of Ritalin and shielded from the other children, but back then, I got my ass kicked almost every day between third grade and eight grade.
Sure, it was a world of suck and I did wind up in therapy and on antidepressants, but I came out of it a self-assured, self-directed person who no longer fears anything from anybody. If I hadn't been forced to pay the inevitable price of being a stuck-up, whiny geek, I wouldn't be a functional adult today. I don't wish that kind of experience on other people, but I don't think they should be artificially sheltered from it either.

I feel sorry for kids in school today. I shudder at the idea of trying to raise healthy children in this society these days, and have tremendous admiration for those who are giving it their best regardless.

Wow! I just ranted about this very same thing yesterday at Right We Are! Michele, you're a girl after my own heart! You rock!

Michele -


I jsut had to post on my blog about this.

We are failing to teach our children how to be great adults. As the Duke of Wellington declared "The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton". I doubt that the battles of the future would be won in the "peace maze".

Sometimes, people raise wild animals at home. Then they release them into the wilderness. The animals come to a predictable bad end.

By indoctrinating kids in the way that they are, this school district is doing the same thing. The kids will be unable (on a personal level) to deal with hostile people, setting them up to be lifelong fall guys--in personal life and at work. They will also be unable (at the level of citizenship) to deal with the world as it is, and will be likely to support disastrous policies.

This is serious educational malfeasance. The school district is putting their own social (and even pseudo-religious) viewpoints above the welfare of the children who are their responsibility.

As your nominee for Secretary of Education, I'm glad to see we are on the same page ;-)

I'll look into this matter immediately. Come election day, I'll have the rubber hoses handy.

Hmm, I agree with what you said after coffee, but I'm a bit worried about what you said before coffee - you made it sound like you DON'T think working toward having a violence free school is a good thing.

I've noticed that good natured, civilized children have a hard time when they're sent off to school and face the jungle of uncivilized, sadistic kids and (and uncivilized, sadistic adults) waiting there - they're in deep danger of losing it all and becoming assholes themselves.

Personally I hope that by the time I have children I can afford to find, or move to a place where there's a school with civilized people.

Can I go put all the "brains" behind this drivel into a Peace Maze and then bomb their asses? Please!!!!!!

"This year's Democratic National Committee platform will advocate that all public (government run) schools set up a 'Liberal Maze.' Kids on the verge of thinking conservative thoughts and accepting the philosophy of free market enterprise will be asked to wander the maze. At each crucial point, the child will be indoctrinated into various liberal doctrines-everything from collective white guilt to the socialist philosophy of a strong government involvement in all areas of public and private life will be reinforced. Those who complete the maze without any tension or dissent will be sponsored for a free scholarship to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard."

Joshua: you missed the point, definitely. There is no such thing as a school with "civilized people" -- what a school is (or is supposed to be) is a place where civilized teachers take the little savages that children are and civilize them. The problem is, the teachers at this school have the solution bass-ackwards -- they are obviously of the persuasion (as are most of the "Progressives" in the education biz) that the child is "naturally good and kind," and is only violent because society allows/teaches them to be violent. (The fact that allowing and teaching are two mutually exclusive concepts do not bother these people, because logic is a Tool of the White Male European-American Hegemonist Oppressor.)

So Michele wasn't saying that schoolkids should be violent, she was saying that they are violent, and unless they are taught how to channel their aggression -- unless their aggression is acknowledged in the first place -- with discipline, not stupid "tag" games and creepy mazes, they will continue to be more and more violent. Children may be savage and uncivilized, but they are not stupid, and they know when they are being had -- they just don't have the civilized mechanisms to cope with such foolery. So we get all these stories of children "acting out" in increasingly murderous ways. I foresee that maze causing a whole new passel of kids with psychological problems.

And just how much are these mazes going to cost??? What vital programs will be cut to pay for said mazes? What are they made out of? What kind of maintenance will be necessary?

Why don't they just stick the kid in the corner and let him/her count to 50 to cool off?

Yeah, I had my years of Hell in public schools, but this maze crap does not sound like the right thing.

(Ah, dodge ball. Great way to improve dexterity and agility. Especially if the throwers really don't like you.) :-)

What this is is a failure to understand intro-level psychology-seriously. Kids have to be conditioned to deal with unpleasent situations that they will confront in the real world while they are still in school. That way they still have soem authority firgure who cares to guide them in the right direction. This is not to say that schools schould be evil places, far from it. The school should do anything within its power (and if you ask me that includes corpral punishment (sp?))to keep things sane and keep te environment somewhat healthy. On the other hand, its a maze really going to make kids not be mean to each other? All the programs we have today were developed to make kids nicer, but look at what we have ended up with!

"You know what happens when you don't let kids loose, when you take away their right to act their age or be better than someone else at something or be able to win, place or show? Or what happens when kids aren't allowed to feel what it's like to lose or cry or feel bad express their anger?"

Yes... they go to university, and immediately cut loose with all the stuff that used to be forbidden.

Two words, Michele: Catholic Schoolgirls. I rest my case.

You seem to be missing a vital point. Our kids will rule their kids with an iron hand, turning them into wage slaves of the corporate army, which of course our kids will be at the head of, enjoying the fruits of the labor of the idiots the government schools are producing. Heh heh heh.

Holy Shit...that's my old elementary school!!!

Can't the progressives leave "tag" alone?

seems to me everyone's missing the point...it's not the kids at all....it's the close minded, small thinking parents that are the problem...and as for the good ol days...that was back when you were allowed to beat the tar out of your wife for saying uppity things.....hmm, maybe they weren't so good