Let kids be kids — not!

I received this email from a friend, who thought that you all might have some useful input about a recent policy change at her daughter’s elementary school:

Apparently a boy got hit in the head playing football at recess and hurt himself, though I don’t know in what way or how badly.

The school’s response has been to ban all soccer and football at recess and lunch despite the fact that no accident occurred in soccer. Children can still play basketball and tetherball. They are only permitted to play soccer or football under adult supervision, that is at p.e.

We happen to think that this policy is ridiculous. I plan to meet with the principal to try to convince her to bring soccer back. This is an affluent community with some pretty protective and forceful parents. I don’t know if the principal is afraid of a lawsuit- but for heavens sake- minor bumps and scrapes is a part of childhood!

If you feel inclined to put this to your blog, I would be interested to know what you and your readers have to say about it. I could use some good points when I meet with the principal (who is a pretty strong and opinionated lady herself).

So, my friends, if you were meeting with a school principal and wanted to have a rational, intelligent, polite discussion with her that would help convince her that a ban on soccer and football is a bad idea, what would you say?


13 Responses

  1. Tell him it’s racist.

  2. Tell her such a ban might have a negative effect on test scores. Test scores are what principals are evaluated on, for the most part, so that’s what they care the most about.

    Kids don’t have a chance to run around and play hard, so they act up in class, don’t focus, learn less, test poorly, etc.

  3. I hate this crap. We have 3 kids (#4 on the way! yikes!) and it seems like fewer and fewer schools will let children play.

    Give him some statistics.


    1. Soccer has about 3 times *fewer* injuries per year than Basketball.
    2. Baskteball has about 30% *more* injuries than Football has
    3. The vast majority of serious injuries are head injuries. The vast majority of these come from skateboarding and riding a bicycle. I bet these don’t happen at recess.

    Print the first page of this for him:

    Good quote (not exactly news): “Children who do not engage in frequent physical activity are much more likely to suffer from obesity. This is said to be due in part to the recent technological developments, including video games, computers, and mobile phones.[3] Physically inactive children are unable to burn off the calories that they gain from eating. The body will store some or all of the unused energy as fat.”

    I feel dirty for reposting alarmist nonsense, but….fight fire with fire: http://in.reuters.com/article/health/idINN0559300920071205

    Appeal to his fundamental sense of decency. Ask him to recall his time as a child and whether or not he was allowed to play real games.

    Good luck!

  4. Yucko! What craptastic grammar. I blame the late hour and lack of sleep. Sorry Book. 😛

  5. I would make the argument that banning football and soccer does not reduce the risk of injury. There might be a perceived reduction, but does the principle actually have any data that shows the risk of injury is reduced?

    Simply put injuries will happen when children play, especially boys, but banning certain activities will not reduce that risk.

  6. I think I’d “politely” explain that leaders are expected to show back bone and the ban is moronic.

  7. Be thankful they haven’t banned running. I’m serious, many schools in San Francisco have banned running at recess.
    There are parents with their suing guns cocked and loaded, I know because I’ve been threatened by them too many times. There are also wonderful understanding parents.
    So the solution is simple. Get the wonderful understanding parents to sue the the cocked and loaded ready to sue parents. That’s how the West was won.

  8. Anything that reduces the kids’ opportunity for aerobic exercise increases their body mass index (read fat) and increases their risk for all the “new” pediatric diseases. eg. type II diabetes, slipped capital femoral epiphesis (broken hip joint) etc. There is legal risk in the policy of no soccer or football as well.
    To say nothing of the idiotic, spineless, chicken livered, paranoid bureaucratic, spirit sucking behavior of the unprincipled principal.
    Uh.. better edit for politeness.

  9. Have the parents sign release forms.

  10. One childhood memory is that of feeling as if the school day were ruined when we had to stay inside for recess. All children need some time where they can run wild,let it all hang out, in order to be able to concentrate in school. If that pent up physical energy is not released on the playground, it suppresses mental energy in the classroom.
    As a child I was continually breaking my glasses in playing. My parents had the patience to pay for their repair and not berate me for it, realizing that the energy of a child and eyeglasses in repair were contradictory terms.

  11. This is why JROTC is bad. When humans have something that can get them to ecell at their maximum potential, you will always get somebody or someone out to crush that human potential.

  12. Tell her “that which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

    1. Let them eat dirt.
    2. Let them drink out of the garden hose.
    3. Let them walk in puddles
    4. Let them settle their differences with a fist-fight
    5. Let someone be picked last for a team
    6. Let them get the flu, chicken pox, mumps, measles
    7. Let them shoot bb guns, sling shots, arrows

    This from someone who had scabs on her knees until graduating college … and just turned 60 (i.e lived to tell about it)

  13. Yayyy Ellie!

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