Parents are scratching their heads today over the news that one Toronto elementary school has banned balls in the school yard.
Earl Beatty Public School sent a letter home to parents Monday to say that students would no longer be able to kick a soccer ball, toss a football or play any other sort of game that involves a ball.
The letter went on to explain that there have been "serious incidents" during which staff and students were hit. School trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher told the Star that one Earl Beatty parent took a ball to the head and suffered a concussion.
But is an outright ball ban the right approach, especially when we're facing a crisis of inactivity among children? As my colleague Andrea Gordon mentioned in her latest story on children and exercise, childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years, and only 7 per cent of kids get the recommended hour of daily exercise.
Sure space is tight in urban school yards like the one at Earl Beatty. I have to be very cafeful to stay out of the line of fire when I pick up my youngest son from his small school yard, so I can appreciate the risk.
But that's the thing about risk. It has to be balanced against reward. And in this case the reward is just the kind of free play and exercise that today's screen-addicted kids need.
What do you think? Are there solutions the administration at Earl Beatty may not have yet explored? Is the answer better supervision in the school yard so there are some grownups to herd the junior kindergarteners out of the way of kids twice their size playing soccer? How about a sign at the yard gate to remind parents to beware of flying objects?
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