As it currently stands, Mountain Laurel’s rule 20.21 reads “Roughhousing is permitted in the building as long as it's not disrupting another activity.” This includes the possible use of foam "swords." It's also understood that all playfighting must be consensual between all parties, and must stop if anyone doesn't want to take part. And real violence, of course, is strictly forbidden.
Why do we allow roughhousing at all? Because it has benefits for those who choose to participate. It helps them learn boundaries. It helps them negotiate frustration and pain. And it helps them learn that they can overcome obstacles. All well established. Plus, we know that pretend violence reduces aggression and the likelihood of real violence, most likely because it gives children a chance to consider the consequences of violence in a real way.
It makes them more resilient and more empathetic. So we allow it.
So that’s how things stand for now. But who knows? New students might well arrive and change it.
Sean Vivier, MLSS Staff