Civil Liberties

Schools Ban Swings Because Everything Is Dangerous


Mike Plante / Wikimedia Commons

Schools in Richland, Washington, are phasing out playground swing sets. According to KEPRTV:

Swings are blamed for the most injuries of any play equipment.

Richland School District already removed them from some campuses and will phase them out of the rest.

"As schools get modernized or renovated or as we're doing work on the playground equipment, we'll take out the swings, it's just really a safety issue, swings have been determined to be the most unsafe of all the playground equipment on a playground," said Richland School District's Steve Aagard.

Before your head explodes, remember that the school district has some very compelling argu… oh wait. It doesn't. Of course some kids get hit by swings and of course there are some injuries—even awful ones—but that does not automatically mean we must ban swings. If it did, we would have to ban all solid food because some kids choke. We would have to ban all bikes because some kids wipe out and hurt themselves. We would have to chop down all of America's trees as well—at least in parks and playgrounds—because some children climb them and fall off.

The school district says "pressure from insurance companies over the liability is part of the issue." The only sane thing to do is push back. Heck, most insurance companies would like to keep children seatbelted to their chairs and strapped to blood pressure cuffs, just in case of any heart conditions. Can't be too careful!

In any case, schools that eviscerate their playgrounds are actually putting their kids at risk—just a different kind of risk. Think obesity. Depression. Diabetes. One thing we know that combats all three is playing outdoors: an activity that has included swinging since Tarzan's time.

Insurance agents look at life through the lens of risk. Nothing looks safe to them. But there's no reason for the rest of us to think like Allstate. Citizens of Richland: Unite! You've nothing to lose but your chains (with swings at the bottom of them).