An alternate title for this article might as well be “Things that would never happen in Canada.”
A school in the UK has banned children from touching snow. Headteacher Ges Smith from the Jo Richardson Community School told Good Morning Britain that while some see the measure as extreme, he sees it as a health and safety issue.
“We’ve got a duty of care,” Smith said.
Of course, it’s not touching the snow itself that’s necessarily a problem. But Smith’s argument is that it leads to temptation. Many schools have cracked down on snowball fights for safety reasons, and Smith thinks that the best way to keep kids from throwing snowballs is to keep them from handling snow altogether.
“The rules are: don’t touch the snow. If you don’t touch the snow, you’re not going to throw it,” Smith said.
Naturally, the school’s policy has drawn a lot of criticism and derision from around the internet. “Maybe we should stop them from using the washroom too … they might get germs,” wrote Twitter user Lorraine Ben.
But while Smith has had to weather (no pun intended) a lot of criticism, he stands behind the policy. He says he wishes it was as simple as letting kids simply have fun, but “the problem is, it only takes one student, one piece of grit, one stone in a snowball in an eye with an injury and we change our view.”
Smith also argued that when kids get to school wet, cold, and having just gotten a snowball in the face, they do not come in with the right mindset to learn. “There’s a thing about being fit for work,” he said.
Still, not touching snow at all doesn’t just mean no snowball fights — it also means no snowmen and no snow forts — an idea many Canadian children would find unimaginable.
Fortunately, this is an issue that London schools don’t have to deal with that much anyway. There isn’t usually a lot of snow in the winter, though a big snowstorm known as “the beast from the east” has thrown London into chaos this week. But it probably won’t be long before they’re back to their regular snow-free lifestyle, and the question of whether or not to touch the snow will no longer exist.