11/05/2013 11:14 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 10:52 EST

Playground touching ban divides Langley school parents

A new school policy banning any touching by kindergarten students in the playground of a Langley, B.C., elementary school is dividing parents.

Parent Julie Chen says she learned of the policy when she found a letter to parents in her child's backpack on Friday.

"I was upset. I couldn't believe they would send us parents something like this."
The letter from staff at Coghlan Fundamental Elementary School in Aldergrove informed parents of a number of injuries on the playground, and laid out the new hands-off policy.

Banned activities include any fighting games including "imaginary light-sabre games," plus tag and holding hands. Penalties include being grounded during playtime, or a trip to the office.

Coghlan is a fundamental school, which has more rules and more structure than other public schools. Chen says she accepts that, and likes it, but says the new rule goes too far.

"You know now, you are just trying kind of to control them, and contain them, so they don't do anything out of the norm."

District defends "zero-tolerance" ban

While some parents have complained the policy is far too strict, Langley School District spokesman Ken Hoff says the "temporary measure" was brought in after some parents of kindergarten children at the school in Aldergrove complained.

"There were some children that were getting minor injuries, to do with some rough play. This was a way of curtailing the behaviour," said Hoff.

He says a letter was sent home to parents on Friday telling them about the ban on all hands-on play and a new zero tolerance policy for the school's four- and five-year-olds.

Hoff acknowledges that angered some parents, who went to the media.

"It's unfortunate that a group of parents went straight to the press, instead of addressing this at their school"

Hoff says it's a temporary measure, restricted to the one school and he has no idea how long it will be in place.