By Charles Adler, QMI Agency
One of Canada’s esteemed educators has taken swift action on a very serious issue. Anarchy had taken over the schoolyard at Earl Beatty Junior and Senior Public Schools in Toronto.
Ball-playing kids were out of control. Hitting one parent and nearly hitting many more.
Principal Alicia Fernandez has taken decisive action, banning soccer balls, footballs, volleyballs and tennis balls from the playground. All in the name of safety.
Recreational foam products, better known as Nerf balls, did manage to clear the list of contraband play devices.
Think this is an isolated incident? Think again. Last year, an Ottawa public school banned ball playing in winter. In June, a public school in St. Catharines, Ont., banned balls after a girl watching a schoolyard soccer game was struck. Thankfully these bans were overturned by petitions of outrage.
But this is a widespread problem. Canadian traditions like snowballs and street hockey have already been eradicated in many parts of this country.
Schools across North America have also banned cartwheels, dodge ball and even tag. Yes, tag. Why? Running kids can fall. Or a child might be tagged too roughly, leading to a fight.
One school in Australia made international headlines when it banned handstands due to the risk of head and neck injuries.
Maybe this doesn’t go far enough to ensure the safety of our precious children. Skipping rope? A serious tripping and choking hazard. Hopscotch? The horror!
Am I missing something? Are kids today made of fine porcelain?
These laughable examples are no laughing matter. We’re inflicting serious harm on children by keeping them out of harm’s way.
Our educators claim to take childhood obesity seriously. What could be better than good old-fashioned calorie-burning play? No, they seem far more interested in putting sedentary kids on diets. Enforcing militant healthy eating programs.
Think back to your own childhood. Compare the freedom you enjoyed with today’s kids. You probably walked yourself to school, explored ravines, maybe you even climbed trees.
Scabbed knees should be honoured like Boy Scout badges. A symbol of truly experiencing the adventure that is childhood.
How can we expect kids to grow up to be self-sufficient adults if we don’t give them a chance? Let’s give them some of the freedoms we had!
Obsessively keeping children out of harm’s way is doing more harm than good.
Research by Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway, concludes that kids need to encounter risks to overcome fears on the playground. She and other psychologists believe that protective playgrounds achieve the opposite of their intended effect. Instead of making children feel safer, and therefore braver, they actually make them more anxious and fearful.
For school administrators, it’s not really about a child’s well being at all. Bubble-wrapping our kids in the name of safety is all about control.
Let kids be kids so they can become adults and act like adults. It’s Canadian common sense.
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