One of the best parts of being a child is being able to take a short break from school to go outside and play a game such as football, basketball or kickball. For a certain school in Port Washington, N.Y. this is no longer the case.
The school has decided to ban most balls from children during recess time. This includes basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls, footballs and any other type of ball that could potentially hurt a child. Games such as tag and cartwheels are also not allowed to be played unless under adult supervision.
Many are wondering whether this is a good or bad idea, and the reasoning behind it all. “Some of these injuries can unintentionally become very serious so we want to make sure our children have fun, but are also protected,” Dr. Kathleen Maloney, superintendent of Port Washington Schools, explained to CBS News.
Additionally, according to a research done at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in September, there has been a 90 percent increase in sports-related head injuries since 2001. It is because of this that the school feels the need to be extra cautious about the safety of the students.
“There is limited space for the students to enjoy a 20 minute recess period. With children in such close proximity to each other, it is not safe for them to be engaged in unstructured play with hard balls,” Maloney said.
However, children are still allowed to play with soft Nerf balls over recess and can resume hard-ball-playing during intramurals and physical education since they will be supervised and be playing under a set of rules.
Many are completely against this new rule, and so is this Editorial Board. Banning balls at recess may prevent some injuries, however, students are not gaining the experience to learn and understand how to be safe while using the balls.
According to an article on Forbes.com, “Recess is an opportunity for children to learn important life lessons — creating games, being picked for a team, working with others and playing by rules.” There are no rules and structure during recess, and kids have to decide on their own whether something is right or wrong. It is a time to think and make decisions by themselves, which is an important trait to have in the future, rather than have a teacher or parent make that decision for them.
Recess is also time for children to take a break from their school work and let off some steam, and now they don’t even have the freedom to do whatever it is they choose to do at that time. Now it seems children do not have many options, and standing around talking to one another does not seem like the most fun during a time for play and activity.
This is also not helping the issue of youth obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Also, the percentage of children aged six to 11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2010, and the percentage of adolescents aged 12 to 19 years who were obese increased from 5 to 18 percent over the same period.
Obviously, this is a major concern for children and taking away an opportunity to be able to work toward this problem is not going to help anything. Teaching children how to properly use balls for sports and other activities may help prevent injury. However, banning balls altogether is not the proper solution.