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Alabama Dept. of Ed. deems 8 recess and gym activities inappropriate to avoid hurt feelings and more

Many beloved childhood games, such as dodgeball, musical chairs and kickball, are now considered inappropriate in Alabama. (H. Allen/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

The Alabama Department of Education has deemed eight beloved childhood recess and gym activities as inappropriate.

A guidance document, created two years ago, resurfaced on Tuesday when it was posted on Facebook by the Auburn University at Montgomery Physical Education Program.

The document went viral before the Facebook group pulled the post, and the Alabama State Department of Education subsequently removed the document from its website.

According to, much of the document still remains in the Alabama Physical Education Instructional Guide.

As per the original document, the DOE considers the following eight activities inappropriate for safety, exclusionary, and alienating purposes:

Steal the Bacon

According to the Alabama Department of Education, Steal the Bacon is a "sideline game in which two opposing players come out to the center of the court and compete against each other in front of the entire class."

This is apparently problematic because it has the "potential for [student] embarrassment." The DOE says the game "easily qualifies as terrible."

You can watch a video of how Steal the Bacon works below.

Relay races

The document noted that relay races are essentially useless, as "successes are generally ignored, but failures are fodder for continuing ridicule at least through dismissal at the end of the day." The advisory against relay races paints kids as trolls with eyes peeled for trips, falls, or failures.

Musical chairs

Musical chairs is also a big no-no, because basically the same person wins the entire time, everyone else feels completely alienated, and all of the castoffs sit around twiddling their thumbs and "spinning mindlessly in circles" on the floor until the winner earns his or her bragging rights.


Kickball is also apparently bad, because even though kids are fairly competent enough to organize the game without the teachers holding their hands through the process, there's a "major potential for embarrassment" if the kicker misses the ball.

Giants, Elves, and Wizards (AKA Crows and Cranes)

The Department of Education doesn't seem to even know what this game is, and wrote, "participation time is at a bare minimum, the rules take forever to explain, and even then, students are still confused."

The game, according to the document, "usually ends when two students crash heads together."

You can watch a video of how this game works below.

Duck, Duck, Goose

Educators apparently believe "Duck, Duck, Goose" is a useless game because it's loud, and apparently not much of a physical activity outside exercising kids' vocal chords.

The document read, "Everyone else [besides the 'goose' and 'duck'] just sits and screams at ear-shattering pitch and decibel levels."


The DOE's documentation on dodgeball is cut and dry, and even penned in red ink, which apparently means a very serious business.

About dodgeball, the DOE said, "There are no standards in the Alabama Course of Study: Physical Education for any grade that supports/justifies this activity (variation or any other name) where a student or students are targets of thrown objects."

None. No objects. Not even half-inflated balls that make embarrassing noises when they strike a child rather than actually injure them.


Forget useless — yoga has been outright illegal to teach in Alabama schools since 1993 because of Hindu religion connotations and mind-altering consciousnesses.

Yoga, however, made the list and is simply just flat-out prohibited.

You can read the list in its entirety here, and find more discouraged activities here.

Has there been any official response to the resurfaced document?

On Wednesday, Eric Mackey — Alabama's state superintendent of schools — addressed the document controversy.

"It is completely up to you which games you play. There is no directive about which games you can and cannot play," Mackey said in a statement. "Go back, tell your principals to take care of their own P.E. problems, please."

He said the controversial document "was a document developed some years ago. ... It was last updated about six superintendents ago. It got re-released this week."

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