Two boys who played "the hanging game" in a bathroom at Countryside Elementary School in Barrington were spared serious harm thanks to the swift action of their peers and adults at the school Tuesday, according to Barrington Area Unit School District 220.
The two boys were spotted by classmates hanging from their shirt collars on bathroom stall door hooks, the district reported Wednesday. Students quickly went to tell their teachers what the boys were doing.
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"It wasn't a tragedy because students alerted adults when they saw something that they saw was unsafe," district spokesman Jeff Arnett said. "The adults intervened immediately to make sure the children did not endure physical harm."
There have been reports of minors, usually older than the boys in this case, being injured or killed while playing similar "choking games" as a way to achieve a drug-less high.
Arnett said it appeared that the two boys were not hanging for that reason but just "thought it was a fun game."
As a result of the incident, the hooks on bathroom door stalls at all of the district's elementary schools have been removed.
Arnett said the district issued a public release about the event because they want parents to talk to their children about the dangers of the game, especially with summer break coming up when children may not be as well-supervised as they are at school.
Arnett said it the first time the district has been made aware of students taking part in the activity at school. He said one of the two boys who involved Tuesday had heard about it from someone outside the school and thought it would be fun to try.
The boys will not be punished.
"The first and foremost measure is to make sure the children weren't harmed in any way," Arnett said.