Scarf bans reinforced
School boards reminded of ‘passive hazard’
The Manitoba School Board Association says winter scarf bans are common and parents shouldn’t be surprised more schools are instating them.
Darren Thomas, risk manager for the MSBA, said a ban on scarves that upset parents at Oakenwald School came after an incident in Calgary that sent a child to hospital in critical condition after her scarf got caught on the playground.
After the girl was injured, he sent an email to Manitoba school boards reminding them of the MSBA’s position against scarves.
Oakenwald Elementary then announced its policy against loose, hanging scarves on its play structure last week.
Thomas understands the policy being controversial, but supports it. “It’s pretty much a passive hazard,” Thomas said.
Students don’t need to be doing anything wrong or dangerous to injure themselves on a structure while wearing a scarf, Thomas said.
Pembina Trails superintendent Ted Fransen said principals in his division come up with their own policies, based on the structures on their grounds.
“Some play structures will have absolutely nothing for a scarf to be lodged in,” Fransen said. The principal may decide to have no ban, or a rule that all scarves must be tucked in.
Pembina Trails School Division tries to balance having rigorous rules and letting students do what they want, said Fransen. “In balancing those, we will always rule in favour of student safety.”