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Not a lot of fun for children

It’s once again time for one of my The World is Going to Heck in a Handbasket  columns. Life was supposed to become simpler,  but it appears to be going the other way.
There was a time when schools begged local newspapers to come and cover their students and  activities.
They still do. Sort of.
At the beginning of each school year, parents are asked to sign a waiver allowing their children to be photographed by local media. So far so good.
However, now when we – namely Triblet Jessica Lovell – go to a school to take photos, it’s like walking on a mine field. This, even though we usually have been invited.
Photograph as Jessica may, her shots often have to be vetted by the school. When I pick what I see as the best photo, it often turns out that the child is not allowed to have his/her photo published.  Bad luck, all-round.
We’ve had requests to photograph only the backs of students’ heads; take photos but use no names;  or just use first names.
In this business names is news,  and there’s a standing order to always try to get names.
As for the poor children, they get pretty excited knowing that they might be in the newspaper. Little do they know that the grown-ups have stuck a wrench in the works.
It’s almost not worth it going out to cover school events anymore. It’s frustrating. It’s too labour intensive. Photographing our school children in action should be celebrated. It should not be an ordeal.
• • •
My other bugaboo is that our litigious society has wrecked fun for everyone. It’s not the city’s fault, but it raises my ire when I am told what we  can and cannot do in public spaces. A favourite hike is the Preservation Park loop on the north side of Kortright Road. Too bad the ponds are fenced in. Declares a city sign: No ice skating. No fishing. No swimming. Where I come from, that means no fun.
A fear of being sued is the likely reason we can’t go by water’s edge. Too bad. In my day, such areas were always a source of exploration and discovery all year around.
Small comfort, but children today probably don’t know what they are missing. I know, though. They are being fenced out of a heck of a lot of fun and adventure.

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