No, D.C.’s children will not get off your lawn, America.
That was the message they delivered Thursday with an impromptu “sled-in” on the grounds of the Capitol, defying a sledding ban that the chairman of the Capitol Police board had said Wednesday night he couldn’t lift.
Board Chairman Frank Larkin said “unfortunately, the board cannot grant exceptions to the Traffic Regulations for the United States Capitol Grounds,” which bans sledding, and other forms of fun, on the grassy knoll surrounding the building.
But fun prevailed.
Dozens of young sledders and their parents hit the suddenly snowy slopes of the Capitol grounds Thursday as the white stuff piled up across the city.
Remarkably, none of the tiny fun-havers were arrested, hassled or otherwise deterred from their ultimate goal: To hurtle down one of the city’s best hills on bright plastic discs, at speeds that would worry even the most careless of parents.
“That’s insane,” a group of young protesters said, when confronted with the fact that some would bar them from their fun.
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton had pushed, unsuccessfully, for the ban to be lifted for a day. On Thursday, she thanked the Capitol Police for looking the other way while the sledders had their day, and cheered the protest on, though she said she avoided it to make it clear the protest resulted from “spontaneous organizing by parents for their kids.”
“There could have been no better showing of the strong community support for overturning—or not enforcing—the sledding ban,” she said. “Neither the waiver that I requested nor old fashioned commonsense policing about when to use the heavy hand of the law matter to kids. All kids know that D.C. is not Massachusetts and we rarely get enough snow to make having a sled seem worth it.”