Ban or not, kids allowed to sled at Capitol

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From sledding to snowball fights, dozens of children and their parents took to Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon to protest a controversial sledding ban.

Capitol Police have refused to lift the sledding ban, but some parents organized a “sled in” on the west lawn of the Capitol to put a spotlight on the unpopular rule.

The snow day provided ample opportunity for the children and their parents to challenge the sledding ban.

“This is a great day for sledding and democracy,” said Tim Krepp, a parent who helped organize the event.

Krepp said the sledding ban is a “silly problem” that points to the larger issue of dysfunction in Washington.

Among those calling to lift the sledding ban is Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who wrote to U.S. Capitol Police Board Chairman Frank Larkin Wednesday.

Capitol Police pointed out that more than 20,000 sledding injuries occur in the U.S. each year. They denied her request to lift the ban, but officers on the ground also refused to enforce it. 

“No enforcement of #sledding ban on Capitol Hill today,” Holmes-Norton tweeted. “Thank you Capitol Police!”

It’s turning into a public relations nightmare for those who oppose sledding and support the ban.

“No member of Congress wants to go on the record saying, ‘Yeah, I hate children. Let’s ban this,’ ” Krepp said.

In the backyard of Congress, the children were not only sledding but also climbing trees, building snowmen and throwing snowballs at one another. Mostly oblivious to the protest, they were just there for fun.

“We come here every snow day,” said Kat Cummins, one of the parents. “This is our neighborhood and we want to sled.”

“There are not many other hills in the Capitol Hill area that are that great for sledding,” added Jason Petty, another parent.

The sled-in was also an escape for the many parents, who didn’t want to be cooped up with their children at home.

“We don’t want to be trapped in the house all day with the kids,” Krepp joked.