Friday, March 25, 2011

Anti-chalk adults - what were they thinking?

Another rant, this time focusing on adults who are unaware of the concept of being a kid and having fun.

In Whitehorse, Australia, a town council with obviously nothing better to do, decided to pass legislation prohibiting children to use chalk on the sidewalk, declaring it a violation of municipal graffiti laws. I mean - really - children all over planet earth or at least where there are sidewalks, have been creating hop-scotch patterns and other artistic endeavors, like, forever.

As if this isn't bad enough, they also declared the children who use chalk as safety hazards. Say what? A safety hazard? How does chalk writing on sidewalks in any way impede the safety of people?

For its part, the council declared sidewalk chalk a violation of the state graffiti laws. An option, according to local officials, would be to issue a permit that would allow the students to play with sidewalk chalk, however, seems that this is not a viable solution. According to a cafe owner, the Mayor of the town said that they would like to issue us a permit but can't because it raises health and safety issues, in case somebody fell over a child on the footpath or into the street.

So this leads one - me - to wonder whether other types of writing tools would be acceptable, other than chalk. Like paint, perhaps? Would they prefer children to paint up the sidewalks? How about loose stones being used to etch images into pavement that will be there much longer than chalk? Will/can the young offenders who ignore the anti-chalk rule be prosecuted in court, or be fined?

Is the next step to outlaw the sale of chalk altogether and related writing tools? Taking it to the absurd, perhaps the usage of chalk by the local teaching profession could be considered a safety hazard.

I mean, really...

To say that the town residents aren't happy with the situation is an understatement with more than 200 people signing a petition to let the children play with sidewalk chalk.

Absolutely unbelievable that this is an issue at all! What next? No roller skating on sidewalks? Or playing jump rope...after all, somebody could fall over a child that is doing what children love to do. The mind boggles.


JEFritz said...

That really is ridiculous. By that logic, they should take it out of classrooms because teachers are just tagging chalkboards, not writing out lessons.

scriberess said...

I agree. Never heard of such stupid legislation. Taking it to the ridiculous, soon ball-and-jacks (remember them?) will be considered too dangerous in case somebody steps on the jacks, and blowing bubbles in a public place will be a no-no in case bubbles float near somebody's eyes... Have to keep an eye out for follow-ups for this one.