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Friday, 28 November 2014

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American school rules are simply Coco-nuts

Two of the favourite targets for moaners in this country are ‘health and safety’ rules and ‘politically correct’ regulations.

Usually the complaints are against cases that have been exaggerated.

Recently, a group of Lancashire Morris dancers called the Britannia Coconutters were told that their annual 12-hour dance round Bacup would no longer get a police escort to manage traffic while they danced about.

This is because of cuts to the police service.

Instead, the Coconutters have to go on a course and provide their own stewards to protect them from traffic.

This isn’t elf ‘n’ safety gone mad, this is the police struggling to meet the cuts they have been ordered to make and withdrawing from community life.

The fun events where officers get to show a human, lighter side, build relations with the people they serve and interact in a positive way.

That’s something that doesn’t show up in the end of year accounts.

On the subject of bonkers rules, the neurotic and paranoid Americans are the worst.

And we should beware, because the old cliché states that ‘what America does today, Britain does tomorrow’.

The latest cautionary tale concerns a seven-year-old who has been suspended from school in Colorado for a make-believe game he was playing.

Little Alex Evans threw an imaginary grenade but school administrators say he broke a key rule during his pretend play.

“I was trying to save people and I just can’t believe I got dispended,” says Alex Evans, who doesn’t understand his suspension any better than he can pronounce it.

“It’s called ‘rescue the world’”, he says. He was playing a game during recess at Loveland’s Mary Blair Elementary School and threw an imaginary grenade into a box with pretend evil forces inside.

He didn’t actually throw anything, or make any threats against anyone. He says he was pretending to be the hero. “So nothing can get out and destroy the world.”

Now all boys (and some girls) play war games. They may pretend to be soldiers or characters from Star Wars, Lord of The Rings or super-heroes.

It is all pretend. Invention. Role-play.

But he broke the school rules which include ‘absolutes’ designed to keep a safe environment.

The list includes absolutely no fighting, real or imaginary; no weapons, real or imaginary.

Seems the school and its staff have no sense of fun, invention or perspective. Real or imaginary.

God help us if we get that bad over here. It’s bad enough that we frown on snowballs and conkers in the playground.

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