Dodge ball deemed too dangerous for Springhill elementary schools

Dave Mathieson
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“They’re taking the wants of the few over the needs of the many,” parent said

SPRINGHILL ­– Dodge ball has been played by kids in Springhill for over a century – until now.

Education administrators with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board recently scratched dodge ball from the physical education curriculum at both Springhill elementary schools.

“At both Junction Road and West End (elementary schools) dodge ball has been discontinued,” communications manager for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, Carolyn Pierce, said.

Pierce said the school board discontinued dodge ball because it was played in a gym that is a “multi-purpose room.”

“For both schools, their gym is a multi-purpose room, an activity room, so it’s a lunch room and other activities occur in those spaces,” she said.

Most people visiting the Junction Road gymnasium would see, what appears to be, a full size gymnasium, whereas the West-End gymnasium is smaller than most gymnasiums.

Asked why dodge ball could be played in the two gymnasiums until about a month ago Pierce said, “We have concerns regarding injuries that have been brought to our attention.”

“Whenever student safety is a concern then, obviously, we need to act,” Pierce said. “So the situation was reviewed and the decision was made not to have dodge ball.”

Sam Alick is one of many parents who think the ban has little to do with injuries.

Her son, Carter, attends West End Elementary School.

“He was playing dodge ball until the first part of November, and then I found out on Nov. 10 that it was no longer part of the curriculum,” Alick said.

As Alick made calls higher up into the school board hierarchy reasons for the ban became more numerous, including: it works the kids up too much, and it’s a game that uses other kids as targets.

Getting kids worked up is what physical education is all about Alick said.

“I think that’s an awful reason to stop a game because the whole purpose of gym class is to get kids worked up and get their heart going,” Alick said. “Physical activity isn’t any good if your heart rate isn’t elevated. Kids need to get worked up.

“In a society where we’re battling childhood obesity and type two diabetes we shouldn’t be removing games where they get really worked up.”

Alick also said there are ways to get around the problem of kids getting too worked up before class.

“Maybe they need a 10-minute cool-down at the end of gym class,” she said. “Also, they don’t have gym class every day and they don’t play dodge ball every time they do have gym classes. They could play dodge ball before recess, dinner and after school, so it’s not a constant problem the teachers have to deal with.”

Pierce said the physical education objectives will be met without dodge ball.

“We had our physical education expert take a look at it and there is a list of options for physical education in small places,” Peirce said.

“We are now offering more activities and more variety of activities for those students at those schools,” Pierce said. “So we’re keeping student safety in mind but also helping ensure that the program meets all the curriculum outcomes that are required for physical education.”

Pierce said there would be a wider variety of activities for the kids and more activities as well.

“There are certainly other options for small spaces, like gymnastics and dance, basic movement, jumping, skipping, galloping and those sorts of activities,” she said.

Alick said dodge ball accomplishes many objectives other games can’t meet.

“The objectives dodge ball accomplishes is dodging, ducking, running, throwing and team play. Those objectives can’t be met with a game like soccer,” Alick said.

When it came to the question of human targets being used in dodge ball Alick said that, for all intents and purposes, the goaltender in soccer is a target that wears no protection.

“A soccer ball hurts much more than a 25 ounce (Nerf-like) dodge ball,” she said. “I did hear of a dodge ball injury being treated with an ice-pack (in Springhill) but I haven’t heard that there’s been breaks or sprains or concussions or anything like that.”

After talking to many people, including a person close to the situation who told her injuries aren’t the issue, Alick has come to believe the game was banned because the school received, “a couple of complaints from two parents because their child didn’t like the game or didn’t want to play the game or was injured in the game.”

“After a couple of complaints, rather than deal with the complaints, they removed the game,” Alick said, “The kids want to play these games and I think they’re taking the wants of the few over the needs of the many.”

Alick’s niece was brought home from a Springhill elementary school on Monday after she was smacked in the eye with a soccer ball and received a black eye.

 “Are soccer balls going to be banned now?” she asked. “I don’t think anybody got a black eye with a dodge ball.”







Organizations: Central Regional School Board

Geographic location: Springhill, Chignecto, West End Junction Road

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Recent comments

  • hillbilly
    November 30, 2011 - 13:15

    Dear Logic, My children go to one of these schools and the "bean" in question is actually a sponge ball that the children throw...... so there is no hard balls or beans being belted at the " less cool kids" and by the way my children are not the more athletic children, now don't get me wrong they play hockey and baseball and whatever sport I can put them in....but as a single parent with 3 children the cost is wicked if I want to not have couch potatoes... so that fact that my children get to have at least 2 hrs a week of activity is great but I agree with some of these posting, soccer the goalie's job is to protect the net to stop the ball so therefore they are being hit, baseball the players job is to hit the ball but sometimes they get hit, the out fielders job are to catch the ball but I have see then catch it with their eye.... the player runs to the base only to be tagged out, etc so does this mean that we will lose all sports for the children, But the question should be how does the Gym teacher feel about this,,,,, He went to school for a number of years to be trained in physical education and now they want him to teach movement, dance, is that what these teachers go to school to learn. By taking some of these activities away from the teachers , then universities etc might need to be contacted to let them know they need to change their teaching curriculum..... so that these new teaches coming out are properly trainned in yoga, and dance.... Just a shame that Ms Pierce is blaming the ban on the room being a multi purpose room what the heck does that have to do with dodge ball......its a multi purpose room there are more things that happen in this room than just dodge ball...... come on get real people

    • PhysEdder
      November 30, 2011 - 21:01

      Actually, most PE curricula is split into strands... knowing, doing, and valuing. Then the sub units include Educational Gymnastics, Dance, Outdoor Education, Active Living and Sport Experience - meaning that one fifth of the Nova Scotia Dept. of Ed. outcomes are related to sports. The universities do make PE teachers take credits in ALL of the above sections... so most of teachers that graduated in the last 10 years already have those certifications you are talking about. Yoga, Archery, Skateboarding, Geocaching, Canoeing, Remote Wilderness First Aid, are examples of the many certifications that many of the PE teachers coming out of university have attained and all of the provincial conferences offer chances for interested teachers to gain new certification. The PE curriculum is evolving to try to make an active lifestyle more attainable. For example, while there are outcomes for sport, we also do dance. There is a HUGE flash mob craze right now - look at the wonderful dance Spring Street did with their PE teacher ... it's on YouTube. All PE teachers love sports, but, just like in our curriculum, if all we did was organized sports are we teaching all students to value an active lifestyle? Does everyone always have exposure to teams to join after high school is over? While I love dodgeball, it doesn't match up with teaching students to value the participation of others, to value safety procedures and in the end gang, a multipurpose room is NOT a safe distance for a trajectory. If the students want to play it, let them start a league after school at the elementary that has the gymnasium. Then it isn't a part of outcomes, and the students still get their fix.

  • Lee
    November 30, 2011 - 09:41

    that is rediculous, the fact that you can consider,jumping, skipping,and galloping acceptable for gym class activities shows me that you have no qualifications for running a gym class, kids need games, sports and fun activities that encourage teamwork and physical activity. what happened to those foam balls? use those and stop whining.

  • Sarah
    November 30, 2011 - 08:31

    I think this is dumb. The schools already don't play enough sports in gym class. My 2 kids come home on there gym day and tell me they tossed beanbags in a hoop or they walked on beams. What happened to floor hockey, soccer, badmenton, vollyball, basketball etc????? It seems that only hightschool kids get to play sports and I don't think it is right. Half of the time the hight school kids don't even go to gym class. Gym time is time for the kids to let off some steam and they are just not getting that time.

  • Josh
    November 30, 2011 - 08:12

    What's next? Soccer , ball hockey or baseball?. The school board is always talking about getting rid of child obesity, well what better way to bring it back by getting rid of a time long proven gym game. These new ideas of basic movement and stuff? Is just another way for kids to not want to do anything. Dodgeball played right with the right supervision is as safe as any other game, and for the kids that don't to Play well then they can play "basic movement" over in the corner

  • Tabatha Alick
    November 30, 2011 - 07:54

    Taking dodgeball away is the first step to taking all the gym equipment away. Soccer balls for example. Poor goalie is getting balls kicked at them all the time. What about tag?? There's no equipment used there and it's technically still a contact game isn't it? Can you imagine the nerve of the kid who is it!? They're running around trying to tag another kid.. so they're chasing them down then hitting them! And they're LAUGHING about it! It's all how you perceive the information. No kid.. from now back to when I was in elementary school.. ever dis-liked dodgeball. Gym class is for fun... it doesn't target any child more than any other. And yes.. it's co-ordination skills, team skills, rules, running, and just fun! Same as all other sports and gym games are supposed to be!

  • hillbilly
    November 29, 2011 - 22:57

    So they want to remove dodge ball becasue the gym is a multi purpose room well last time I checked no one tried to play games of any kind during lunch,or `holiday concerts``etc...the games are played during a regular scheduled activity hr... If certain children are taking advantage of equippment for the soul purpose of injury to other students then those children need to be delt with not banning an activity. Seems to me that they are punishing the wrong students. Ms Priece speaks of other activities like gymnastics (broken bones,sprains ect), skipping ( I forsee that not lasting long becasue the skipping rope could be used as a weapon to whip one another). No matter what activity you provide students someone will always complain. There is never a happy medium. why not poll the parents at these schools to see if they wish to ban Dodge ball..let the children and parents speak for once on what they want for their kids....

  • John
    November 29, 2011 - 21:17

    This is beyond insanity. Dodge ball was one of my favourite sports to play while I attended both J.R.E.S, and W.E.M. It was a great way to be able to co-ordinate with the other team members to formulate a way to avoid getting hit. Kids will be kids, irregardless if they get hurt or not. The way things are going, almost every sport will be banned. Shame on the CCRSB for banning Dodge Ball! What's next? Soccer, Badminton???

  • Logic
    November 29, 2011 - 13:46

    I could start by saying no a goalie is not a target. the person kicking the ball tries to miss the goalie. the goalie then tries to stop the ball. but thats not the point anyway. perhaps we should all take a step back and look at the big picture. I agree that this game seems harmless to most. but to some kids its hell. its just another arena for the "cooler" stronger more athletic kids to single out the weaker. You don't think it happens. go watch a playground. Remember when we were all kids we could go home to escape our tormenters. Today kids can't. kids have enough stress to spite what any of you think. I'm sure there are alot of games that can be played that kids will get exercise and all the benefits dodge ball gives, with out the beans in the face. if you doubt this...I would gladly meet any of you , so I can bean you in the face with the very ball they use....... bullying in any form in public schools should not be tolerated in any shape or form. and that is the bottom line.

  • Stephanie
    November 29, 2011 - 11:41

    In my opinion, this is completely foolish. Dodge ball treats kids as targets? Of course it does, and it's fun! That was the best part of gym class! Gym is supposed to get kids worked up and burn off energy. I think all of these new bans are turning our kids, and in turn, their childern (because things just seem to be getting out of hand)into softies (for lack of a better word) ,Soon they won't be able to go out and play without being wrapped in bubble wrap and doused in hand sanitiser. Kids need to learn how to win, and how to loose. In sports there is always a winner and looser. So ban sports so no body gets their feelings hurt? Childern need to learn how to deal with life and all it's winnings and loosings. Soon all the sports, all the play time and equipment and fun in general will be gone, because someone scraped a knee or got hit with a ball. Stop hovering over kids, they are tough when they are allowed to be.

  • Dave
    November 29, 2011 - 10:49

    Better put pencils on that banned list too. They are too sharp and dangerous. Thank goodness for video games, because that will all it will come down to. Outdoor playing unless wrapped in bubble wrap will be banned too. Growing up, I wore no helmet, ate mud pies, ate without washing my hands and ran with scissors.