For almost a half-century, kids at the farm-based Moorestown Children’s School in New Jersey have spent a lot of their time stomping in the mud, running through the meadow and visiting the barn, blissfully oblivious to the danger in their midst.


Oh, the child care inspectors don’t use that term. They call it “overgrown vegetation” — the tree branches that dip down to the ground, weeping willow-style. These must be chopped off — every last branch, until inspectors can see 7 feet of bare trunk on every tree — or the school will be cited for safety violations.

“But they play with the trees!” school director Sue Maloney recalls telling the inspection crew. The children “touch the trees! They shake the leaves. It’s what they do.”

Not anymore. Not if she wants to keep her license. This is the story of what happens when two different ideas of childhood collide.

And that’s only the start of the ludicrous requirements put on them.

Click pic to visit the school

  1. deowll says:

    Gasp you mean they actually climbed on and touched a tree! How ghastly! You should only touch and climb on dead things!

    Typical nanny state over the top pain in the bleep.

  2. Improbus says:

    Oh, the horror! Some one needs to bitch slap these people.

  3. ohmy says:

    At least the kids will be able to see trees in a tree museum (for $1.50)

  4. Reagan says:


    I’ll save your children. I won’t rest until the entire planet is covered by asphalt and concrete and every tree now in existence is relegated to nothing but a bad memory.

    Dead? Really? All of us? The children? Even rich people?

    Damned scientists.


  5. Axl says:

    Dear God – what is wrong with all these ‘safety’ people???

  6. bobbo, how to get an idiot not to respond: says:

    Yea Verily: “This is the story of what happens when two different ideas of childhood collide.” /// Yes, and its this side that is winning. Just about the “only” thing I liked about grade school was dodge ball. I understand that is hard to find these days.

    Next door neighbor built a pond about 3 feet deep with his tractor. After 3-4 years–frogs, fish, ducks, bamboos, snakes etc all over the place. Became a magnet for the kids.

    One complaint about the obvious dangers involved and he filled it in.

    Can you imagine a local community setting “its own standards” and saying that absent ACTIVE negligence amounting to almost a personal assault on a kiddie, that death the result of property conditions are the responsibility of the kiddies parents and not the property owner? A different kind of society, one from the other.

    Pro’s and Con’s to all we do.

  7. bobbo, how to get an idiot not to respond: says:

    Following the flow on being sued if you dare to get out of bed:

    So, you can be sued for inviting someone to dinner, for having served drinks to someone, etc. This all follows from several threads lately: judges not throwing unmeritorious cases out asap. Instead, they tend to wait for jury decisions making for a very bad lottery process. Course, I am assuming a whole lot. Maybe we should hear both sides first?

    And thats the trap. Loser pay? No, I think losing LAWYERS should pay. They are afterall “officers of the court” but lawyer negligence, like doctor negligence, is suffered by their clients/patients==not by the malefactor.

    Yes, some “easy” changes could dramatically change our system overnight. I’d vote for it.

  8. admfubar says:

    this isnt about ‘safety’ it is about not getting sued. money grubbing lawyers are the real danger here.

  9. admfubar says:

    the easy change is to limit what a lawyer can collect in the damages that are awarded by the court. it is pretty simple, one can still get sued but the lawyers are the ones who get screwed in the deal..
    ahhh but a dream..

  10. dusanmal says:

    @#5, #8 It is not ‘safety’ or ‘lawyers’. It is Govt. overrun by Progressives who want to socially engineer every second of our lives in fashion they deem proper. Because they are more advanced and wise and we are stupid plebs who must be put in proper order by laws and regulations. Nothing different here from Obama obstructionist regulations of oil drilling or Bloomberg (NYC) bans on types of fat people can serve or smoking bans in open public places… Same obsessive anal control freaks. Same exact “arugula” Uber Class. We need an Egypt moment to send those behavioral dictators far far away.

  11. nobody says:

    To be fair the school is in New Jersey. Jersey people are known throughout the world for being particularly delicate, fragile and effeminate – that’s why it’s called the garden state.

  12. God, Allah and other monikers says:

    I say, enjoy life to the fullest and have fun. Risks are everywhere, and if you don’t fall out of a tree I’ll devise some other “accident” to take care of you.

  13. Likes2LOL says:

    That school would be a much safer place if they just banned the children.

  14. ECA says:

    I wonder what KIDS do now days..

    They cant Swing in trees.
    They CANT climb trees..
    They cant find a wading pool.
    They cant go swimming, on THEIR OWN..

    Some Odd little location that USED TO HAVE a swimming hole is FILLED UP/FENCED OFF, because the OWNER/FARMER/.. doesnt WANT/NEED to be sued.

    So, what do the CHILDREN DO?? besides LEARN about life, and have accidents, and TEACH themselves, and MAKE friends.

  15. ECA says:

    Why isnt my name and password being acknowledged?? even the recovery, says I am not registered.

  16. 1873 Colt says:

    Gavin Newsom, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Sock Monkey.
    All of ’em are shit.
    And all of ’em endorse the Nanny State.

    Let’s see how long it takes them to get to the home schoolers…….

  17. Martin says:

    Since this is New Jersey these safety rules are probably needed. Those folks are delicate, need rules for everything and would wither would lots and lots for government control. All the rugged individualists, independent thinkers and men left years ago. You watch, no one will object enough to get this leaf safety regulation overturned. But, to the relief of many in that state no children will be harmed by a leaf.

  18. Publius says:

    >The problem started last year when an inspector visited the school and smelled something foul. This turned out to be an egg a boy had stuffed into his boot for safekeeping (and forgotten!). It made a bad impression on the inspector, who returned with more inspectors, who in turn found more things objectionable.

    Inspector Clueseau works for NJ it seems.

  19. lynn says:

    I’m sitting in my office about 2 miles from the school in question, so I’m getting a kick out of this thread. Rather than going into detail about my own great childhood in the 60s when we went out of the house in the AM and came back for dinner in the PM covered with mud and ticks, I’ll just ask: any other moldy oldies like myself ever read Summerhill (about the experimental school founded by Neil in England)? If the kids wanted to break windows, they broke windows. Imagine today.

  20. lynn says:

    PS, I spent many happy hours playing “house” in the space between four big Spirea or under the overhanging branches of our crabapple tree when it was blooming. Mmmm.

  21. Floyd says:

    There was an old apple tree in a hedgerow behind my house when I was a kid. The branches of the tree formed a kind of “house” that was our “Fort.” That’s where my friends and I played, at “great risk” of course. Funny thing, nobody ever got hurt.

  22. Mextli says:

    #19 lynn
    “I’ll just ask: any other moldy oldies like myself ever read Summerhill (about the experimental school founded by Neil in England)?”

    I did lynn. What a book! I was going through a “hippie” phase then and it really made an impression on me. Not sure how I feel about it now I guess I should read it again.

  23. lynn says:

    #22 Mextli: I had to read it in college, 1976 I guess, and never forgot it – “Neil, Neil, orange peel!”. I think I heard recently that it’s going to be reissued, or updated perhaps.

  24. Angel H. Wong says:

    See? This is what happens when children who were never spanked grow up into.


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