Indian Costumes and Other Surprising Things Banned in American Schools

Green Acres School in Bethesda, Maryland, has decided to ban students and faculty from wearing any Redskins attire. The ban has been initiated, surprisingly, by the students themselves. The students deemed the word “Redskins” to be, “whether intentional or not, deeply insulting and offensive.” says the school’s principal, Neal Brown. This ban is a legitimate one, but it does beg the question, what else has been banned since I was in school? We did some research and it’s doubtful you’ll recognize schools these days. All of these will make you happy or disappointed, but all of them will shock you.

1. Corporal punishment … mostly

group of school kids with tablets in the classroom

There are still 19 states that allow for corporal punishment. |

Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, corporal punishment was ever a thing. Corporal punishment can be anything from a slap on the wrist from a ruler or a spanking from a paddle. Yes, a paddle. Whats most shocking is that only 31 states actually banned corporal punishment in school as of 2014. That leaves 19 states that allow corporal punishment to amend for breaking school rules. That may be one of those things that you ask a school when you are thinking about sending your child there.

Next: You may need to be extra careful around Thanksgiving and Halloween.

2. Wearing ‘Indian’ costumes

two little girls in Indian costumes

More schools are trying to be less culturally appropriative. | Getty Images

Riding off the cultural sensitivity train that came at the beginning, some schools have banned wearing an “Indian” costume to school like this school in Skokie, Illinois. A lot of schools have held some form of traditional “Pilgrims and Indians” show for their class to learn about how the Americas were colonized. However, a lot of people believe that this promotes a lot of stereotypes and is cultural appropriation at best.

Next: Why stop there!

3. Sit ‘Indian’ style

students sit quietly and wait for their teacher at Harlem Success Academy

Kids are taught to call this sitting position something else now. | Chris Hondros/Getty Images

It’s very inappropriate and promotes a stereotype that may be inaccurate to cultural traditions of the Native Americans when you tell your students to ‘”sit Indian style”. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t sit down on the ground with your legs crossed, it’s more of a ban on telling your students to do so. Many Americans have adopted the term “Crisscross applesauce” as a fill-in for the term.

Next: “Dodge, Dip, Dive, Duck, and… Dodge” this old time favorite.

4. Dodgeball

dodgeballs lined up in a gym

Some school are no longer allowing this fun game. |

One of the greatest days in physical education was when you walked into the gym and saw the basket full of blue and red balls. Long are those days over. Dodgeball has been banned in most schools because of its ability to target and bully kids. But mostly it’s because of all the injuries the sport sustains. If you actually think about it, your teacher was telling you to hit another kid in the face with a ball. It may have been a great day as a kid, but as an adult, you gotta see the problem with it.

Next: Don’t send this game right over anymore

5. Red rover

cheerful school children

This game really is kind of dangerous. |

For those of you who never had the pleasure (or pain) of playing this game, kids set up opposing lines of kids with their arms locked. One team will yell “Red rover, red rover, send [insert name here] over”. Then that kid was required to run at full speed to try and break the line. Think about how dumb that is. It’s a wonder that this game wasn’t banned earlier. The inevitable lawsuits that came lead this “fun” childhood game to be banned by most schools.

Next: almost all of our childhood recess games are being taken away

6. Tag

kids playing tag on the beach

This game seems innocent enough, but some schools don’t agree. | Stockbyte/Getty Images

Tag is kind of a ridiculous one to get banned. Yet, many schools have outright banned it because of how dangerous it is. For the same reasons you can’t play “Red Rover” and “Dodgeball” long gone are the days that you could scurry about the field or gym to slap a friend and shout “YOU’RE IT!”

Next: That sweet, sweet thrill of gambling

7. Pogs

two kids with a teacher in a kindergarten class

A decade ago, kids couldn’t get enough of Pogs. |

Believe it or not, these little cardboard chips were like crack to kids between 1994 and 1995. Essentially you would stack up as many as you were willing to lose and throw a “slammer” down on top of the stack to see how many would flip over, then you get to keep the ones you flipped. This was essentially a child’s first experience with gambling if you think about it. what seemed like a harmless recess or lunch game started to bleed over into the classroom leading to the game to get banned in some schools. Luckily the game ended up fizzling out after a couple years and it ended up just banning itself.

Next: You would never think these would cause a problem for you

8. Chalkboard erasers

Computer on a table with blackboard in the background

The dust from that chalkboard may not be so harmless. |

A seemingly trivial school supply has been banned for multiple reasons. The obvious one is that the dust that it emits is probably pretty bad for you. The second reason is that a lot of teachers were using these as a form of corporal punishment. They knew that the dust was hurtful to the lungs, so if you messed up in class, you were told to stay after a clap all that chalk dust into your lungs. Pretty cruel, right? Now classes generally use dry erase boards or (if you have a really nice school) smart walls.

Next: This next one will make your jaw drop depending on how old you are.

9. Rifle ranges (Duh?)

guns in holsters

We’re glad this one’s banned. | Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Believe it or not, guns were allowed in school and children learned how to own and operate a gun safely. Obviously there isn’t a public institution that would allow this now-a-days, but the thought is actually kind of novel. Never the less, there would bound to be that one idiot in the class who accidentally shoots themselves or another student. So you can see why this one has been banned for quite some time now.

Next: The next one can be just as deadly as bullets.

10. PB&J

peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a plate

The nut allergy problem really ruined this classic sandwich. |iStock/Getty Images

Ah yes, the age old quick fix lunch. Due to the fact that there are so many people with nut allergies that can and will kill them, peanut butter has been banned at most schools. At the very least, parents are informed of a students allergy and politely request that nuts not be brought in their child’s lunches.

Next: Banning boys and girls?

11. Teachers calling their students ‘boys and girls’

teacher reading a book to his young students

Some schools have made an effort to be more inclusive. |

Yes, believe it or not, some schools are banning teachers from referring to students by gender. This comes as attempt to make schools more inclusive for trans gendered and non-binary-gendered students. Some schools have adopted calling their students purple penguins.

Next: The age old, right of passage.

12. Leaving school for lunch

Teenagers looking at a phone

These kids are stuck with the cafeteria food. | Oneinchpunch/iStock/Getty Images

Remember when you finally got your license to drive and you had an open campus? The lunch world was your oyster. You could go anywhere you wanted and not be forced to eat the cafeteria food. Well, now due to the fact that students are getting into car crashes when they’re supposed to be supervised, schools had to tighten up. Inevitably parents complained about the dangers and a lot of schools now won’t let students leave campus for lunch.

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