POCOLA (KFSM) -- Parents of Pocola Elementary School students are saying a list of playground rules issued to them is too strict.
The list includes 14 specific rules about playground behavior and states the rules were developed to ensure the children's safety at recess while instilling self-discipline and responsibility.
"I agree with some of them because I do agree with the safety part, but I also feel like they have overdone it,” parent Cynthia Bohannan said Monday (Sept. 29). "If they need to go in and go to the bathroom, that does not mean they should not be able to go back outside."
Ashley Newman's daughter is in the district's pre-K program, but said she will not be sending her children to Pocola Elementary.
"They can't play tag, they can't play kickball. I mean that's what I grew up doing when I was a kid," she said. "I mean they are kids, they wanna play."
The rules include:
- Children are NOT allowed to use profanity or be disrespectful to others.
- Children are NOT allowed to throw objects (rocks, sticks, etc.).
- Children are NOT allowed to climb trees or the fences.
- Children MUST ask permission before entering the building. For safety purposes, if a student enters the building during recess, they must report to study hall/detention for the duration of the recess.
- NO parents are allowed on the playground unless they are an approved volunteer. They must have on a Visitor's Pass from the office.
- Playground equipment MUST be used appropriately (NO climbing up the slides, NO jumping out of the swings and NO climbing on top of the monkey bars).
- Children MUST stay within the perimeter of the playground.
- When entering or exiting the building, the student MUST do so in an orderly manner. Running and excessive noise is NOT permitted.
- When the whistle is blown, children WILL line up promptly or if a teacher calls a specific student the will come IMMEDIATELY.
- NO balls are to be taken out for morning recess.
- Tag is NOT to be played at recess.
- Football is NOT to be played at recess.
- Kickball is NOT to be played at recess.
- Children MAY play basketball during lunch recess. There will only be two balls allowed. The rules must be followed and they must stay on the basketball court.
Principal Stacy Stanfield said the rules have always been in place, but this is the first time they have been put in writing. The Pocola Elementary School Safety Committee also issued the following statement:
"The school safety committee is made up with teachers, administrators, a parent and student member, and the school nurse. The Pocola Elementary Safety Committee’s first concern is our students’ safety and well-being. Rules have been implemented with input from parents, students, and school faculty. These playground expectations have recently been communicated with parents and students. Pocola Elementary has many activities for children to enjoy during recess. As always, we value parental input and hope to work closely with the home to promote a positive, fun and safe learning environment."
According to Stanfield, football and kickball are not allowed at the school because there is not enough room for those activities.
The rules above were revised on Sept. 25. The rule prohibiting kickball was completely removed and the rule prohibiting tag was revised to not playing tag on a concrete surface. Rule four was also revised to state a bathroom break is given before children go outside, so there should only be a few occasions when a student would need to enter the building during recess.