The Dodgeball Ban
Where is the line between keeping kids safe and overprotecting them to the point of doing them a long-term disservice?
Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project
Kids at Weber Middle School in Port Washington, Long Island that have spent recess looking over their shoulders in fear of dodgeballs crashing into them can now rest a little easier: Dodgeball has officially been banned.
So, too, are games with footballs, baseballs, lacrosse balls and even games of tag. According to a CBS report, even activities like cartwheeling have been banned, “unless supervised by a coach.”
The school said the decision was made in an attempt to reduce playground injuries, and that kids would be given foam Nerf balls to play with instead. The school district announced the new policy in a press release, explaining that a construction project was limiting the amount space available to students for recess. The release read, “With children in such close proximity to each other, it is not safe for them to be engaged in unstructured play with hardballs.”
But in the long-term, are policies like this doing kids a disservice? Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland penned an op-ed piece on the CBS Connecticut website, entitled “Things Are Clearly Out of Control.” In the piece, he points to the ban as an example of adults contributing to the creation of a future adult population utterly unprepared for life. He asks, “Are they tough enough? Do they have the educational capabilities? Are they prepared for international competition?” He concludes that, at the root of the ban, is “lawsuit paranoia.”
Weber Middle’s District Superintendent Kathleen Mooney told CBS New York that the new rules had been prompted by playground injuries. But critics of the regulations feel we should fear more for overprotected kids than the occasional lawsuit. As Rowland says, “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.”
Have we fallen into a pattern of overprotecting our kids? How can we find a balance between keeping kids safe and letting them live and learn? Weigh in here.