A Long Island, New York, middle school has banned all games with “hard” balls, like football, soccer, baseball and lacrosse. You know, the fun balls. Also banned are “hard” games like tag and other tackling games….even cartwheels are taboo. The reason? Fear the kids will get hurt. Weber Middle School does allow the soft type nerf footballs.
The superintendent of the Port Washington School District, Kathleen Mooney, says “some of these injuries can unintentionally become very serious, so we want to make sure our children have fun, but are also protected.” Yea, that tag can be a real school yard killer. The real motivator behind these moves is crystal clear in the minds of all rational parents….fear of litigation.
The school claims a school construction project is creating “limited space for the students to enjoy a 20 minute recess period. With children in such close proximity to each other, it is not safe for them to be engaged in unstructured play with hardballs.”
Neither parents or students are pleased with the new rule, nor are they buying the construction bull as the real reason for the edict.
Props to former Connecticut Governor John Rowland who wrote an op-ed piece for CBS Connecticut entitled “Things Are Clearly Out of Control” in which he says “there are countless stories like this across the country and I am all for protecting our kids, but let them play, let them scrape their knees, maybe even twist an ankle, it’s all part of growing up.”
A Washington Times columnist called the ball ban a “sign of the apocalypse.” This all comes on the heels of a Connecticut school banning the phrase” hump day” last week because students were using the jargon from the Geico camel commercial too often.
When I was growing up, “dodgeball”, “capture the enemy” and the ever popular “human tire” were all the recess rage. I say let the kids at Weber Middle School cut loose. Besides, with that schoolyard construction project underway creating cramped quarters, the intensity of a good dodgeball game can really get cranked up a few notches!