Parents: Rock-Paper-Scissors, a Dangerous Game?

At my son's Perry Hall school, "shoot" is a dirty word.

UPDATE (3:48 p.m.)—Gunpowder Elementary responded to the column. Find the full article here, Gunpowder Elementary: 'We Didn't Take Away Rock-Paper-Scissors'.


My son is a kindergartner, and a few weeks ago he and his classmates were reprimanded with a short lecture for playing Rock-Paper-Scissors. They are no longer allowed to play the game because participants say "rock-paper-scissors SHOOT," before displaying their fingers to see who wins.


Not because the winner bashes the loser's hand, but because they were yelling the word "SHOOT," which has connotations to a gun—making his juvenile game a potential safety risk. I can only assume that because teachers are hearing the word "SHOOT" all over the playground, with groups of students huddled in packs, they need to be able to determine when it's an actual threat.

Really? I found myself both chuckling at this new "rule" and rolling my eyes. There's no official mandate. In fact, I only heard the new restriction because I happened to be volunteering when the principal was talking to my son's class.

After school, I spoke with my son, and he admitted he had been playing the game. We spoke about why talking about shooting anything was wrong inside school, and he understood.

I agree that kids shouldn't be bringing weapons into school, and I want nothing more than to guarantee that my son is 100 percent safe the entire time he is in  school. And yes, they are young enough to re-learn the game and say "Rock-Paper-Scissors GO," instead. But isn't this kind of ridiculous?

I mean really, what happens at a basketball game, or during gym when they are play soccer? How does the coach instruct the kids to shoot on goal or learn to aim a foul shot?  Is that terminology forbidden as well?

Seems that most of us parents shouting at games would find ourselves being reprimanded, as we emphatically scream "shoot, shoot!" at our kids from the sidelines.

By no means am I suggesting we put our kids intentionally at risk, nor would I encourage them to bring water guns to school, have sword fights or say the words, "gun," "kill," "bomb," etc. But I am asking that they use common sense when making rules about innocent childhood games. Why haven't they banned Mercy or tackle football—my son plays both games during recess. Don't they sometimes inflict pain on participants?

I'm all for school safety, and for rules and procedures that ensure our children are protected from harm. We should closely monitor the language our kids use. Parents play a critical role in making sure kids understand right from wrong, and recognizing the warning signs of kids in trouble.

But while kids have to understand that their words and actions have consequences, prohibiting silly games seems to be the least of our worries.

David Roberts October 09, 2012 at 04:52 PM
That is a great question. I often wonder that myself. There is no way to legislate all the possible unpleasantness from life.
Tim October 09, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Well, she is a Cowboys fan so that's a strike against her ;)
Gomer Pyle October 09, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I'm surprised they haven't made Gunpowder Elementary change its name. I mean how could anyone send their child to a place with such a violent name! Oh the humanity! This is political correctness gone too far.
Tim October 09, 2012 at 05:55 PM
LOL, that thought had occurred to me. That'll be next.
John Doe October 09, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Are kids still allowed to play "Chutes and Ladders"?
Michael October 09, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Ok! Everyone, listen up! The writer of this article hasn't the slightest idea of how wrong she is about the rules in her own son's school. Its NOT because the players say shoot, and it IS in fact because the winner bashes the looser's hand! The EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT SHE SAID! In her "righteous indignation" and over abundance of free time, she seems to have essentially fabricated a story about saying "shoot" at the end of "rock, paper, scissors", and how that's somehow forbidden. She needs to take two seconds to understand that this is NOT the case. And secondly, SHUT UP ABOUT THIS SMALL, INCONSEQUENTIAL, MINOR THING AND GET LIVES OF YOUR OWN YOU WHINNY INSUFFERABLE BLEATING SHEEP!!
Other Tim October 09, 2012 at 07:46 PM
WOW! Tell us how you really feel.
Emily Kimball (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 07:51 PM
UPDATE (3:48 p.m.)—Gunpowder Elementary responded to the column. Find the full article here, Gunpowder Elementary: 'We Didn't Take Away Rock-Paper-Scissors' - http://patch.com/A-y3Dk
John McLane October 09, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Yes, the schools rules are due to the fact that the administration wants to limit that kind of hostile contact, and the author of the above article is under an inaccurate assumption. And yes, the above article is essentially fiction. However, calling everyone "bleating sheep" seems a bit excessive.
Michael October 09, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I'm sorry. I just don't enjoy watching people get into this pitchfork and torch mentality about a thing that doesn't even exist. The amount of stress this must have put on the administration would be ludicrous. Especially considering the fact that they are already RUNNING AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!
Stacey Schantz October 09, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Michael, I was in the classroom, the children were specifically told they could not play the game. They haven't taken away Mercy which involves kids bending eachothers hands backwards to the point of pain, and they allow kidergarteners to play tackle football with 4th graders during rececess. The are running a fabulous elementary school, that I agree, but to your above comments about my article being fictitious I wholeheartedly disagree. But then again, aren't we all entitled to our own opinion.
John McLane October 09, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Understandable. I know for a fact that the administrative staff and all the teachers at this school are lovely. The author of the article should apologize to the staff of the school. Again though... "bleating sheep"?
Mike Lurz October 09, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I would be happy if they just did their job...you know teach my kids math, science, reading etc...I got the rest of it
John McLane October 09, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Actually Stacy, as I understand it, they have taken away Mercy.
Michael October 09, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Stacy, You are entitled to your opinion, sure, but there is a difference between having an opinion and being utterly wrong about a situation. My opinion is that the sky is more of an aqua-marine and not blue. Does that mean I am accurate in my interpretation? The answer is no. And in this case, you are wrong.
David Roberts October 09, 2012 at 08:32 PM
I hope you see the irony in your statement.
David Roberts October 09, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Yes, that would be nice.
Mike Lurz October 09, 2012 at 08:37 PM
yeah...I hope that you sense the frustration in my statement
Harry October 09, 2012 at 08:38 PM
They seem to be doing just fine with mine. Why is everyone so worked up about this?
David Roberts October 09, 2012 at 08:43 PM
I also love the lectures about feeding our kids a good breakfast before the MSA tests. As though we normally do not feed them properly. And is it the fact that MSA performance is so crucial that they are only concerned about nutrition at test time?
Michael October 09, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Yeah, I'm getting the irony, Dave. Thank you!
Mike Lurz October 09, 2012 at 08:52 PM
That good breakfast counts more before the "we get money" test
Tim October 09, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Stress? Over rock/paper/scissors? Really? I think the only things ludicrous in this thread is: - your disrespect for a first hand, eye-witness report - your disrespect for the person reporting it - your hilarious, over the top hyperbole within your voracious defense of the school. - Finally, this: SHUT UP ABOUT THIS SMALL, INCONSEQUENTIAL, MINOR THING AND GET LIVES OF YOUR OWN YOU WHINNY INSUFFERABLE BLEATING SHEEP!! Here's a suggestion: Upgrade that glass house buddy.
Mike Lurz October 09, 2012 at 09:21 PM
time to disengage
Karrin Murphy October 09, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Tim, you seem like you're on the same ridiculous level as Michael up there. Maybe we all need to relax. The school has already responded and the whole issue is pretty clearly resolved. Micheal, you're clearly pretty whinny yourself, and could take a lesson from your own words. Tim, were you there? Have you spoken to the administration? Micheal, please don't respond to this, its getting out of hand.
Michael October 09, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Fair enough
JD1 October 10, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Anybody care that kids are sitting in their classes absolutely bored to tears as they are trained for the next test? Sad...
Tim October 10, 2012 at 01:10 PM
I dunno, my kid's learning a ton so far, and he's been in class all of a month. Maybe we'll have this dicussion again in later years.
Anonymous November 03, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I find this article completely ridiculous. Not what the teacher did, but the response of this parent. The kindergarten teacher simply wants his/her room to be as safe as possible. This is one of the ways the teacher is doing this. School is meant to be a place where children can go to feel safe. This teacher is doing exactly that by reducing any harm in the classroom. Considering everything that has happened with Perry Hall High, you would think of all people a PARENT would understand the teachers defense. If this is seriously your biggest concern with the school (which I am assuming it is since you wrote a big article about it), then you are pretty lucky. Sincerely yours, Someone who is disappointed in parents in the school system
Anonymous November 03, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Stacey, What are you even talking about? Do you seriously think the school system would allow students to play Mercy during school? If you saw this happen, it was most likely behind a teachers back. There is absolutely no way a teacher would allow this. "But then again, aren't we all entitled to our own opinion."


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