Nerf recess: No balls, tag, cartwheels

“Hard” balls, tag and cartwheels are banned during recess at a Long Island middle school.

acrobat kid -

Kids were getting hurt on the playground, Port Washington Supt. Kathleen Maloney told CBS.

Structured sports are safe, a press release stated. In a smaller recess space due to construction, unstructured play with “hard balls” is not.

Students have been given Nerf balls to replace footballs, baseballs and lacrosse balls. They’re not allowed to play “rough” games of tag or turn cartwheels without a coach’s supervision.

“Cartwheels and tag — I think it’s ridiculous they are banning that,” a student told CBS.

Others agreed they want more than a Nerf recess. “You go for recess — that’s your free time to go let loose and recharge,” a boy said.

Parents charged that fear of  liability and lawsuits — not injuries — prompted the ban.

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  1. I’m impressed that they lasted this long allowing footballs, baseballs, and lacrosse balls as well as tag.

    The parents here shut all that down decades ago. The common scenario was the child who was wearing inappropriate footwear, twisted an ankle, and the parent suing to recover treatment costs. The elementary children here aren’t allowed to run at recess.

    • And I suppose it’s “too hard” on the child for the school to do what I do when my students show up in inappropriate footwear for lab, despite being told: make them sit it out. I bet a kid kept from recess one day because he/she wore flip flops would learn in a hurry.

      Parents suing over a twisted ankle? Crazy.

  2. From the current mindset, my ES recess/lunch hour scenario is almost unimaginable: no adult supervision, dirt playground, no restrictions on play (even including bows, arrows, cap guns and knives), completely unfenced, river on one side, hill with rocky outcroppings (great forts) on another, unannounced transit through by machinery for planting, fertilizing or harvesting the adjacent field, see-saws and swings with heavy wooden seats etc I never saw or heard of anyone being hurt, beyond minor scrapes and bruises etc, either. Back then, kids were assumed to be pretty competent at running their own play, and we were. Of course, there were fewer lawyers and more decent parents. teachers and admins (one teacher-principal for with about 300 in 1-12) adequate common sense.

    • PIckup baseball was always going in my elementary schools. We were allowed to bring bats, balls, and gloves to school. We were expected to loan equipment out to a person on the opposing team who didn’t have any to bring in.

  3. I have no proof of this, but it seems to me that kids who grow up around “dangerous” things (hardballs, bats, jungle gyms, etc) seem to acquire reflexes that protect them, at least to some degree. It stands to reason that, if you’ve never had to get out of the way of a projectile speeding towards your body, you may not be very good at it. If you’ve never climbed on monkey bars, then you might let go at an awkward time and sprain an ankle. And so on.

    It used to help kids, that they started at a young age with this stuff and got better and better at it as they scaled up to faster balls, higher bars and so on.

  4. Michael E. Lopez says:

    The article says it all:

    No balls.