Thursday, June 20, 2002 By Anita Vogel SANTA MONICA â€” A Santa Monica elementary school has banned the game of tag, once synonymous with youth and innocence, because they say it creates self-esteem issues among weaker and slower children. "We had some children who were not playing 'it' appropriately. How do you differentiate between those that are playing correctly and those that aren't?" asked Franklin Elementary School Principal Pat Samarge. In the school's weekly newsletter, Samarge told parents that without adult supervision, the game would be banned. The principal said children playing tag suffered both physical and emotional injuries. "Little kids were coming in and saying 'I don't like it.' [The] children weren't feeling good about it," Samarge said. Dr. Judy Young, executive director of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, disagreed with Samarge, saying that games like tag "are organized to have a winner and a loser," which is simply a part of life. "Self-esteem should not be imbedded in whether you win or lose a game," Young said. Tamara Silver, a parent of a fifth-grader at Franklin Elementary School, said the school sent her two letters informing her of the new rules. The second letter cited safety concerns, not issues of self-image, to justify the tag ban. "I want my child to know that he can have some freedom," Silver said. "I want my child to know he can play. I want my child to know that he can fall down and skin his knee." Fox News' Alec Melman contributed to this report.