In a move that has garnered harsh criticism from parents and media outlets, a Canadian elementary school has implemented a “hands-off’ policy that bans kindergarteners from touching one another.

The rule, which prohibits all types of physical contact during recess, is described by school policymakers as an attempt to limit injuries and disagreements during play. To ensure compliance, parents have been advised to talk to their children about the ban and encourage “imaginary games” that don’t involve touching. Five-year-olds who fail to substitute tag and other playground activities with more intellectual pastimes will be subject to disciplinary action.

“We will have a zero-tolerance policy with regards to hands-on play, resulting in the missing of playtime and trips to the office for those who are unable to follow the rules,” school officials wrote in a letter to Coghlan Fundamental Elementary’s parents.

Several parents have already contacted Canadian media about the hands-off policy, which they believe is a ridiculous attempt to rein in play and control students. The rule, they said, is both unfeasible and without basis. “I can’t imagine little kids not being able to hug each other or help each other on the playground,” said Julie Chen, whose five-year-old daughter is a student at the school. “I get that kids have to have rules but at some point, where do we draw the line? I am not going to tell my daughter she can’t touch her friends at school. I am going to teach her boundaries.”

In an effort to defend the rule, school district Ken Hoff said that the elementary school is merely responding to concerns voiced by the parents themselves. Speaking to CTV British Columbia, he said that the new rule will promote student safety by preventing injuries otherwise associated with rough play during recess. He added that the strict no-touching ban is simply the first step towards more sensible and appropriate playground practices. A necessary state of exception, if you will.

“It wasn’t meant to be an instantaneous situation where the hammer is just going to drop if a child touches another child,” Hoff told reporters. “I think what it was meant to convey is we are taking the issue seriously.”

Coghlan Fundamental Elementary’s decision to outlaw physical contact is the latest in a series of widely publicized efforts to reduce playground scuffles and student injuries. Earlier this month, a Michigan school made similar headlines after it announced its new “no tag, no chasing” policy – a sweeping playground ban that prohibits “dangerous” games like push-tag, dodge ball, capture-the-flag, and whiffle ball. Both policies have been met with near-unanimous disapproval from parents.