Students at an east-end Toronto school are being told to leave their soccer balls — and other hard balls — at home.Quickly followed by the backlash.
The principal of Earl Beatty Public School banned the balls this week after a parent recently suffered a concussion from being hit in the head with a soccer ball.
The principal, Alicia Fernandez, banned hard balls, claiming they're dangerous.
"Kids were coming in complaining of injury, or being scared," she said.
The ban went into effect two weeks ago.
Students can bring sponge or other soft balls to play with, but soccer balls, footballs, baseballs and even tennis balls are not allowed for safety reasons.
All very encouraging, I thought, considering such policies are widespread back in the stiff upper-lipped UK ... including sponge balls as detailed here in May.
Time for a quick anecdote. In the early boy Puddlecote years, parents were required to wait until their offspring were taken into class before leaving the playground in the mornings. It was a sterile affair for the kids, they'd run around but weren't allowed to go near the climbing frame as a fully-trained teacher wasn't in attendance before 9am, and risk assessments said no. They'd get excited with their running, as kids do, at which point they'd routinely be told to stop by the one staff member on show because - and I know this as I asked - if they fell over, "there isn't a system in place to administer first aid outside of school hours".Now, if there was a media furore - as in Canada - over hysterical playground bans when they were first initiated; or a revolt amongst freedom-loving British parents, I can't say I noticed it. Did you?
On one occasion, one of the kids brought a tennis ball in with him. He launched it into the air and around two dozen kids gleefully cheered and started running around kicking it. The whole happy episode of childhood abandon and joy lasted less than a minute. The ball was grabbed by the teacher and the kid who brought it was admonished sternly.
"You know full well that balls aren't allowed in the playground!", she finger-wagged. Again, my curiosity was piqued and I politely enquired as to why. The reason was that it could hit another child and cause bruising or, more dangerously it would appear from the look on the face of the teacher concerned, one of those playing might tread on it and have a "nasty fall".
The next day, I mischievously brought in a yellow foam ball and threw it in front of the boy to see what happened. He kicked it and the kids naturally charged around after it in the same manner. That, too, was confiscated in double quick time. The justification this time? Well, with all that kicking going on towards a ball with no weight, one child may end up kicking another.
We can see the reason for this by studying a picture of the country in the last century ...
... and comparing it to now.
Anaemic, and with no spine, see?
With an unwelcome spotlight having been pointed at their risk over-reaction, the Toronto school's ban is not likely to last long.
A spokeswoman with Toronto District School Board says the ban is a temporary measure and the principal will consult with parents and staff to find a solution.Because that's what happens when you stand up to arrogant kneejerk statists, they back down pretty sharpish. Sadly, we now have a population so in thrall to risk phobic lobbyists and health & safety hysteria, that they've completely forgotten how to.