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Your Stupid Minds! Stupid! Stupid!

Preschool Bans Kids From “Super Hero Play,” Doesn’t Even Have the Decency To Do It With Proper Grammar

By now you may have seen the picture floating around of a flyer distributed by an unnamed preschool that has banned “Super Hero play.” If not: Yes, there is such a preschool. Apparently kids have been getting a little rowdy there lately—which is absolutely a problem that should be solved—so the school decided, hey, instead of addressing the violence issue, let’s just say they can’t pretend to be superheroes.

The letter, with my commentary, is behind the cut. I am unable to can with this one, folks.

After the delightful header image, above, the letter starts:


Does the help you’re requesting relate to proper comma usage?

Recently it has been brought to our attention that the imaginations of our preschool children are becoming dangerously overactive

That’s the premise of a dystopian novel if ever I’ve read one.

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.

That’s fair. No objections from me.

Wrestling, Super Hero play, and Monster games will not be permitted here at [REDACTED].

The wrestling’s fair, assuming the wrestling they were doing was actual fighting and not jumping around in luchador masks. But superheroes and monsters? Is playing cops and robbers (kids still play that nowadays, right? I played Thundercats.) any less likely to end in bloodshed than Avengers and Chitauri? Seems to me the school should be focusing less on the subject of the games their charges play and more on their content.

In addition please monitor the different media that your children may view.

Glen at Geekosystem wrote extensively on this particular gem, namely how screwed up it is that the school appears to be asking parents not to let their kids consume superhero stories at all.

The re-enactment of televisions shows/ movies are being done during active paly times in school. [sic for this entire sentence.]

Again, if that reenactment results in injury, that’s a problem. But why pick on superheroes? Shouldn’t the school employees be keeping their eye out for fights on the playground and dealing with those instead of saying “no superheroes.” Ditto with monsters. If my hypothetical child were playing vampires vs slayers and stabbed a fellow student with a pencil I would want the school to take action and let me know “Hey, little Buffy’s gotten out of control. Here is what we did, and this is what you need to do.” But sending a note home saying “kids can’t pretend to be zombies” is a bit much.

The safety and well being of your child is our first and foremost concern. Thank you for your cooperation.

Aaaaand we’re back to dystopia territory. This pre-school brings a whole new meaning to the term “nanny state.”

The image has gone viral since it was posted to reddit a few days ago, and hopefully the attention paid to it will cause the school to rethink their policy on make-believe. Otherwise… look, I’m not saying the ghost of Mister Rogers will haunt the administrators for the rest of their days, but that’s only because Mister Rogers is far too polite for that. But Fred would definitely be disappointed in them. For shame, unnamed school. For shame.

(via: Geekosystem)

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  • Saul Silver

    So glad I was a child of the 70s

  • Pamela Van Hylckama Vlieg

    If they told my son he couldn’t pretend to be Batman he would quit school. Preschool dropouts.

  • Joe Walsh

    I don’t see the reason that schools such as this are protected by having their names redacted.
    Such atrocious policy decisions should come with their names attached, to protect families who wish to keep their kids away from those trunts, AND allow those who agree with them to send them their kiddies for a good, sound imagination-destroying Indoctrination.

  • The Gaf

    If Batman followed the law, there would be no Batman. Therefore- your son must keep his identity a secret. If only there were precedence to this to teach him how….

  • LizbethAnne

    I really think this would be a deal breaker for me if I was a parent of a child at this school. Not just because of the ridiculous restrictions on play and poor grammar, but because they seem to want parents to ban kids from watching super hero movies (or tv shows, or comic books) at home.
    I learned to read with my uncle’s old issues of Captain Carrot. There’s no way I’m not going to let my kids enjoy heroes.

  • Veronica Hathaway

    Childhood is ridiculously regulated.

    My daughter was Batgirl for Halloween 2 years in a row. The first year they weren’t allowed to wear masks to school, the second year the school said no masks *or* face paint. They also can’t play tag..or cops and robbers, come to think of it (no pretending to have guns).
    So, our school isn’t quite to the point of “No superheroes” but I’m waiting for them to get there. Sigh.

  • Olivia Ripley-Duggan

    Goodness gracious, really? Can’t you just talk to the kids at school, take them aside and teach them to play without being violent? I played superheroes all the frigging time and I never hurt another kid on purpose. Never hurt another kid period. Because my parents and teachers did their jobs!

    In the words of a great man that has now left us: “Standing around is still ok, standing around is still permitted! But it won’t be for long, because sooner or later some kid will be standing around. And his foot will fall asleep, and his parents will sue the school and it will be goodbye standing around.”

  • Mina

    I have a memory from preschool of a time when one of the boys (who I still know) asked the teacher if he could go inside to get his jacket. She said, “Why?” It was a warm day. He replied that he needed it so he could pretend to be Batman. (The kids, especially the boys, routinely played Batman at recess by wearing their jackets like capes as they ran around the playground.) She looked at him with confused disapproval and said, “No, you don’t need to do that.” He went away disappointed.

    To this day I have not been able to figure out what on earth was wrong with pretending to be Batman when all it involved was wearing your jacket like a cape.

  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    Really? Really?
    Way to do this without sounding like complete morons: Hey parents, the kids have been a bit too rowdy and violent lately. We’ve noticed that it happens a lot when they’re playing superheroes. We’d really appreciate it if you’d sit your kids down and explain that, while really great in comics and movies, that all the fighting isn’t appropriate in real life, especially at school. Thanks.

  • Ividia Kt

    Where’s that Trek double face palm meme when you need it? Perhaps a responding note to question why they continue to Pretend to be teachers…

  • Aeryl

    Because people don’t act right, the one thing the school doesn’t need, in addition to it’s idiot administrators, is a horde of angry people outside ranting at them.

  • Anonymous

    We TOTALLY need to find the name and address of this school and descend upon it with gifts and costumes. Cartons of comics, Superman capes, and people in cosplay.
    It’ll be the most awesome protest since Westboro tried to picket SDCC.

  • Charlotte Van Zee

    I remember this stuff when Power Rangers came out in the US ages ago (the first one). I don’t remember it being particularly effective at stopping us, it just taught us to lie when asked. Unfortunately I think a part of this is teachers feeling that they’re not allowed to physically stop a child from acting violently nowadays (judging from how many times the cops get called over tantrums in the classroom etc). If a child is physically hurting another child and you’re afraid that you’re going to lose your job/get sued/get heckled by the internet if you try to intervene then I could see saying ‘no superhero/monster play’. Not that it’s right, but this is a symptom of a much larger problem.

  • Ividia Kt

    I’ll bring my Feral Child.

  • Aeryl

    No we don’t. Westboro asked for that by picketing in the first place. These people, while idiotic, did not come into our space to stink up the place, let’s not do that to them.

    I’ve heard way too many stories of people in the internet receiving death/rape threats from strangers online over criticizing Whedon, to think openly publishing this place would be beneficial to anyone.

  • Anonymous

    Me too. I tell my 12 year old about it all the time. She wishes she grew up in the ’70s too.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Well its a very reasonable fear for teachers. There is a case where a student was acting violent and the teacher restrained the student leading to them being fired, blacklisted from education careers and having their name posted across the news and such treating it like the teacher assaulted the student.

  • Rebecca Ramsey

    Uh, we call that a protest in this country. Which is what we do when we want to change policy. Non violent protests are the A-number-1 best way to highlight bad policy by drawing public attention to people standing in opposition to it.

    Also, with the name of the pre-school redacted, it’s impossible for people to petition the pre-school to reconsider. I know it’s only a pre-school and not a governmental agency, but we still don’t need to be sheltering idiocy just because it’s a privately-run place.

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  • Anonymous

    Yeah, our parents tried to get us to stop playing Power Rangers, but it wasn’t so much the play violence that was the problem as the real violence that happened when we fought about who’d get to be the green/white ranger. I think yo’re right, though, that teachers are in a really difficult position sometimes; unfortunately, it looks like this school is less interested in supporting teachers and parents in teaching kids about violence and more interested in washing their hands of any responsibility.

  • Captain ZADL

    So glad I don’t have kids.

  • Aeryl

    The ONLY people who need to petition the preschool to reconsider are the parents.

    Petitioning a SMALL daycare(it’s a preschool, not a state public school) with a mass protest is NOT how you convince them to change policy.

    I’m all for protest. But let’s protest the things worth protesting.

  • Anonymous

    My parents attempted to stop us playing Pokémon, said it had too many demonic interferences, or something… They were probably right, yeah?

  • Anonymous

    Totally, TOTALLY, agree. I just finished studying the ridiculous saga that is Amy’s Bakery, and it’s so idiotic on all sides… Just shameful.

  • Anonymous

    But we will totally allow them to play prince and princess. Because a few scrapes and bruises are the real destroyers of childhood and NOT the slow indoctrination of our students into submissive female roles.

  • Rita Lyons

    The bad thing is, they start getting bomb threats, etc.

  • Aeryl

    I have only one like to give…..

  • Carrie Sessarego

    I agree that this letter is poorly written and much too broad. It’s a really clunky, judgmental approach. However, I do have to confess that I was a preschool teacher during the Power Rangers heyday, and at one school in one class, I banned Power Rangers play only because those kids COULD NOT seem to play PR without hurting each other. They could play other things without hurting each other – I think they might have even played other superhero games successfully. But when they played PR, I could not channel that play, supervise those kids, or perform any act that would keep them from hitting each other in the face. I’m certainly willing to chalk that up to my shortcomings as a teacher, as opposed to some kind of inherent PR curse, but I don’t regret saying, “No Power Rangers in class” because when I did I was finally able to stop passing out ice packs all the time. And let me tell you, a parent whose kid keeps getting clonked in the head at school is not a happy parent. I can’t imagine saying a child’s imagination has gotten “overactive”, though. That really is creepy.

  • Carrie Sessarego

    Nicole, your response is right on target. My only caveat is that, sometimes, you have parents who can’t or won’t have that conversation. You can and should have it as a teacher, but you can’t count on parental support or involvement.

  • According2Robyn

    This is almost exactly how the Mutant Registration Act started.

  • Elissa Newton

    This would have been a huge problem for me since the only way I could get my son to go to preschool the first few months was to allow him wearing a Batman mask. The teachers never complained & just called him Batman all day. I think I’ll send them a thank you note :)

  • Julia Miller

    *laugh* I take it you’ve been on the kid-herding end of things, too? It drove me batty when we’d just be told, as instructional aides, this game is right out. No opportunity to try to regulate the behavior, just, nope. No (in our case, tag), ever.

  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    Oh, I totally agree with your caveat (I’m currently a teacher- do I ever get it). It should be absolutely up to a teacher to sit the kids having the issues down and explain to them that they can’t do that (and say why, because just telling a kid to stop and not explaining why their behaviour isn’t okay doesn’t work).
    That said, I still think appealing to the parents to have the same/similar chat is crucial. Personally, I feel that, if a kid is having a problem, I’m fully within my right to expect parents to address it if I ask. I know it doesn’t always work that way, but still.

  • Sara Ross

    this is just shameful, You should be ashamed school, you should be ashamed.

  • Anonymous

    Dammit, kid! Times have changed! It ain’t enough to make it through preschool anymore! Now companies are only hiring people with shiny elementary diplomas.

  • Anonymous

    That is, of course, assuming that children are encouraged to play their versions of princes and princesses in patriarchal, sexist ways. Playing prince and princesses isn’t indoctrinating kids into anything related to submissive female roles if you’re doing it right.

    From a “the topic is wrong, not the approach” perspective, modern super heroes would be just as problematic for indoctrinating children into body dismorphia and sexism.

  • Alisa Ann Kreuzer

    I can’t believe they’re trying to enforce something like this. Imagination is so important to develop! I wish I had as much as I did when I was younger. Pipe the fuck down.

  • Anonymous

    Here are a few:

    SOPA in the US:

    Arab Spring:

    Resignation of office in Bulgaria:

    Early elections in Pakistan:

    Rejecting proposed tuition hikes in Quebec:

    Palestinian prisoners in Israel:

    And on a smaller scale, Portland high school protests allow anti-war recruiting alongside campus war recruiters:

    Protests at Applebee’s in 2007–a “nurse-in–to stop discriminating against breast feeding, and Applebee’s released a statement that they would agree to make nursing women feel more welcome doing so out in the open and address any issues other guests had.

    Not that I agree with protesting in this specific case, but in general, even if a protests doesn’t achieve the direct goal of changing an issue, its value can also be in drawing attention to an issue through organization. The representation and depiction of the issue can sometimes be more valuable than the direct or immediate result of the protest itself.

  • Malise Angie Hulme

    My primary school (in the UK), 2 examples.

    Game: German Bombers
    Basically: a game of chase, with a safe den by one of the playground walls.
    I still have a scar on my eyebrow from when I got accidentally face-planted into the concrete during a game of this, and the lens from my glasses cut me, but there was no problem with this game, as far as the school was concerned.

    Game: Bulldog’s Across
    Basically: another game of catch with a den at each end of the playground, you had to get form one to the other without getting caught, but if you got caught you joined the other team.
    So, same sort of game, minus the WW2 nationalism issue, but it “sounded too violent”, so we weren’t allowed to play it.
    Solution of my group of friends (each of us around 9yrs old): rename game “The Running Up and down Game” or “Up and Down” for short. Exact same game, different name = no problems.

    Adults can be reeeeeeeeally stupid sometimes!

  • Carrie Sessarego

    I’m replying to myself, which is weird, because I’ve been trying to recall my teaching preschool days, and now I think maybe I didn’t actually have a “No Power Rangers” rule. What I has was a “no pretend fighting” rule, because pretend fighting always turned into real fighting. Because PR were such a huge deal at the time, pretend fighting almost always meant pretend Power Rangers. But, if a kid had ever said to me – “Look! I’m sitting here reading a PR book!” or “Look at this picture I drew of PR!” I’m pretty darn sure I wouldn’t have said, “WHAT? NO POWER RANGERS! BAD READING/ART, BAD!”

  • Carrie Sessarego

    I’m willing to defend your right to protest to the death, but having said that, don’t we have bigger fish to fry? Public schools are still allowed in some states to teach creationism as scientific fact and to discriminate against GLBT students to the point of expulsion. The policy of this small, private preschool is stupid, and their ideas about “overactive imaginations” are creepy, but let’s keep some perspective here. I won’t attempt to stop you from standing outside the preschool with your picket sign, but I wish you’d turn your efforts towards bigger, and much more damaging, problems.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Awh, man, I totally thought this story was going to end with “No you don’t need to do that…because I have a legit costume cape right here for you!”

  • Joshua Paul Hawkins

    I would break out the old bat-shirts and send my child with a different one every single day.

  • Rusty Patti

    Three of the grand kids (aged 4, 4, & 3 at the time) got in trouble at the babysitter’s for re-enacting their favorite scene from Return of the King. They called it, “Gollum bites the finger.” Yep, actual biting of fingers. The sitter had a good sense of humor and they got time outs but that was it.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Oddly enough, I remember playing Power Rangers, and it was probably one of the safest activities a kid could engage in on our (admittedly, gravel) playground. Basically, there was this big concrete tube, and four or so of use would all get in it and pretend to be piloting the Zords. Pew pew, there’s a bad guy, get him!

    And that’s the thing. I remember playing Power Rangers and Superheroes and SO FREAKING MUCH Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But I don’t remember any of those games involving a kid having to be the bad guy. Because those were all teams. The *bad guys* were in our imagination and we flopped and punched at the air while our friends had our six. Invisible foot soldiers and putties and supervillains abounded, but no one ever hit each other. I mean, maybe a kid fell down, scraped his knee, but that was gonna happen no matter what we were playing. Kids get pretty banged up. Getting “monkey blood” rubbed on a cut just taught us that getting hurt isn’t the end of the world.

    I dunno, just seems weird.

  • Jackie Smith

    “Is playing cops and robbers any less likely to end in bloodshed than Avengers
    and Chitauri?”
    Yea, there are schools that are suspending children over playing cops and robbers too. Apparently using your hand to mock a gun while saying “pew pew” is some serious shit when you’re a child.

  • Ryan A. Rocquin

    Yeah for those who are interested this is a real expert.

  • Achala

    Eugh. It’s amazing how people think ‘banning’ things is the answer. Are we going back to the days of ‘comic books encourage immorality’?

    And that school could use a good editor.

  • Agatha Gomes

    How do you control that!?

    “Wooshh wooosshhh”


  • Anonymous

    Ask the school about the Gay Green Lantern and the Muslim Green Lantern and watch the progressives squirm.

  • nypher1029

    Pretty soon they are going to try to ban “The Floor Is Lava” to keep them off the furniture.

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  • bamboo_princess

    I ran into this issue when I was working with small children. Our solution was to encourage them to use superhero magic. They would throw pretend fireballs and magic spells and the other kids would dramatically fall down or die. No kicking or hitting or guns and they’re still engaging in imaginative play.

  • Meg

    That seems like a really good distinction! Of course you should ban the kids beating the crap out of each other, but banning what kinds of imaginary play they do seems really restrictive

  • Meg

    hahaha I remember playing power rangers. Also the fights that would ensue over who got to be what ranger

  • Aaron Potter

    It’s a preschool, we’re talking about 3-5 year old kids. I have two kids
    this age, you still have to worry about them biting each other. They
    probably have one or two kids that are a problem and don’t want to
    embarrass their parents. This is an overreaction, but not really a huge one.

  • Aaron Potter

    I bet there are one or two kids that are a problem and the center doesn’t want to embarrass the parents so they put out a blanket policy. That’s happened at my kids’ preschool.

  • Aaron Potter

    It’s a preschool. Not a public elementary school. The policies typically aren’t a mystery. The policy was probably posted by the parents of a kid who goes to the school. You really think a parent would post the contact info of their kid’s preschool?

  • Anonymous

    Probably not demonic but Pokemon battles have the same principles as dogfighting, so there’s that. We still loved Pokemon though.

  • Rusty Patti

    Not just any lava; it’s always “red hot lava” in our house. Sometimes I trick the kids into sitting on the kitchen table for 1/2 hour or more just to be safe from it.

  • Roberta

    We had the same problem at my Sunday School. I put in a strict no weapons policy, “real” or imaginary, for obvious reasons. So the foam death stars my ninja uses are now force shields, along with other compromises. It actually forces them to think of new and more creative ways to play when you use plasma shots and lasers instead of guns and fists. No more black eyes, and no more angry kids or parents.

  • Christopher Chance

    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. This is 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 are trying to make our kids less than human beings with this effort. They need to be sued and stopped!

  • Jessi Roman

    You know, as a parent of preschoolers, I don’t let them play at violence. They wanna play superheroes, the bad guys are imaginary, and they join in the fight together… when they wanna play with nerf guns, they aren’t allowed to aim them at people, just objects… they are after all, preschoolers, and the line between imaginary and reality is sometimes blurred. I do NOT condone, however, instructing other parents on how to raise their kids. My best friend lets her kids aim toy guns and her and say “bang!” and she plays dead. Her kids, her prerogative. My kids emulate that, I simply tell them “we don’t play that way.” I encourage them to play pretend in ways that are nice. I tell them “don’t even pretend to kill people, b/c killing is bad, so why would we play that?” But the thing is, they are MY FRAKKIN KIDS! It’s my job to parent them, not anyone else’s. And I would be DAMMED if I let a preschool instruct me on parenting. They make superhero play against the rules, fine, kids, don’t play that at school. None of their business what kids play and watch at home though.