Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

School bans most balls during recess: Smart move or going too far?

By Kelly Wallace, CNN
updated 12:03 PM EDT, Mon October 14, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Long Island middle school bans hardballs during recess after a rash of injuries
  • The school also requires supervision of rough games of tag and cartwheels
  • Most parents think the school went too far, with one calling the move "ridiculous"
  • Some parents say the move is warranted noting head trauma can be "serious"

Editor's note: Kelly Wallace is CNN's digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. Read her other columns and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter.

(CNN) -- Is it an extreme case of helicopter parenting or a smart move to keep kids safe?

That's what parents are asking after hearing about a Long Island middle school's decision to ban most balls during recess and also require supervision of tag, even cartwheels, due to safety concerns.

No longer allowed at the Weber Middle School in Port Washington, New York: footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, lacrosse balls and any other hardballs that could injure a child. Also off limits: rough games of tag and cartwheels unless an adult supervisor is on hand.

"We want to make sure our children have fun but are also protected," Kathleen Mooney, superintendent of Port Washington Schools, said in a local television interview, noting how playground injuries can "unintentionally" become very serious.

Playing it safe

Whatever happened to 'go outside and play?'

The school district, in a press release, said that due to construction going on at the school, there is "limited space" for the children to play during their 20-minute recess period. "With children in close proximity to each other, it is not safe for them to be engaged in unstructured play with hardballs," said the district.

It's not clear when the construction project will come to an end at the school and if kids will be able to resume normal ball-playing after it wraps up. A call to the superintendent's office for confirmation has not yet been returned.

Soft nerf balls will be provided during recess, and kids can play with hardballs during gym and intramural athletics.

Not suprisingly, when we asked what people thought about this school's policy on CNN's Facebook page, we got a ton of comments, the majority outraged by the school's decision.

"There are rational precautions (helmets for bikers) and then there is ridiculous. This is over the top," said Erika Hathaway Stockton on Facebook.

Stay in touch!
Don't miss out on the conversation we're having at CNN Living. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest stories and tell us what's influencing your life.

Ways to help your children stay in the game injury-free

"This isn't smart. It's actually counter-productive," said Donna Daniels in an e-mail to CNN. "It saddens me to think that children no longer experience the joy of kickball, tag, dodgeball and simple outdoor games I remember so fondly when I reflect on my childhood. Our kids don't experience physical activity unless it involves downloading an app."

"Without opportunities to learn how to navigate space with their bodies, and to negotiate rules, risks, and experimentation of cooperative play, how are children going to ever be able to handle themselves in any society as adults?" said Alex Martin, an associate director at a Manhattan nursery school.

On the other side, there were some people who thought the school's actions were warranted.

"Freedom is great until the parents sue the school district," said Tyllor Parker on Facebook.

"I don't think kids should have their fun pasttimes discontinued, but head trauma can be serious," said Marilyn Decker on Facebook. "Helmets can lessen that. Even pro sports issues protection. Nothing wrong with that. They are now much more enlightened about wearing helmets while skateboarding and riding a bike, as well."

What do you think -- wise move or going too far? Tell us in the comments below.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
The indictment of NFL star Adrian Peterson on child abuse charges has revealed sharp differences in cultural, regional and generational attitudes toward using physical force to discipline kids.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
cara reedy
The world often treats little people like Cara Reedy as less than human. She's learned to stand up for herself and shout back.
updated 11:26 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
The unheard voices of domestic abuse spoke up on CNN iReport when Rihanna's story of abuse came to light. In light of the Ray Rice controversy, we decided to bring back these stories that are still just as powerful as the day they were told.
updated 10:10 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
More than 3 million children witness domestic violence every year, and the damage can last a lifetime.
updated 2:20 PM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
As media outlets Monday circulated video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator, many wondered why the woman -- now his wife -- could remain with him.
updated 12:52 PM EDT, Thu September 4, 2014
The ways mother-daughter book clubs can help empower girls are the focus of a new book, "Her Next Chapter."
updated 9:44 AM EDT, Thu September 4, 2014
Colleges are working to prevent sexual assault by educating students on affirmative consent, or only "yes means yes."
updated 10:43 AM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
A mom questions if she wants her daughters seeing a "sado-masochistic relationship, dressed up as a Hollywood love fantasy?"
updated 3:04 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
In 2014, why is society still so incredibly uncomfortable with public breastfeeding? Kelly Wallace gets to the root of the controversy.
updated 10:42 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Seven years ago, Barbara Theodosiou, then a successful entrepreneur, stopped going to meetings, leaving the house and taking care of herself. She grew increasingly distraught -- her two children were addicts.
updated 9:04 AM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
The situation in Ferguson, Missouri, after the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, throws America's problem with talking about race into sharp relief.
updated 10:25 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Mo'ne Davis is the first girl to throw a shutout in the Little League World Series. She's an inspiration, but will she change the face of the sport?
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
There is a reason why when people post pictures of themselves during their middle school years on Facebook for "Throw Back Thursday," we all stop and take notice.
It could cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars to raise your child -- and that's not even including college costs, according to new government estimates.
updated 12:09 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
From parent to son, uncle to nephew, there's a raw, private conversation being revived in America in the wake of violence in Ferguson, Missouri.
updated 9:50 PM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Children sometimes get left out of our conversations about mental illness. The truth is, they suffer too.
updated 5:14 PM EDT, Tue August 12, 2014
CNN's Kat Kinsman says that talking freely about personal mental health and suicidal thoughts can help others.
updated 1:26 PM EDT, Tue August 12, 2014
morning person
Easy tips on how to improve everything from your dinner order to the song in your head to your career.
updated 1:33 PM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
The case of an Arizona mom who left her kids in a car during a job interview highlights the fluid line between bad parenting and criminal behavior.
updated 3:41 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
A children's book about gun rights has benefited from an unexpected boost in sales after it became the subject of a mocking segment on a talk show.
updated 11:05 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
Some campers and counselors keep the campfire flames burning with summer flings that become lifetime commitments.
updated 7:43 AM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
After letting her 7-year-old son walk from their home to a park to play, a Florida mother faces up to five years in jail for child neglect.
updated 3:16 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, who lost her son in a hot car, hopes mandatory technology in cars and car seats will stop child death from heatstroke in cars.
updated 10:42 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Not to mention your jeans, bras and pillows? Here's a definitive guide to keeping all your quarters clean.
Imagination Playgrounds have snaking tunnels, platforms and springy mats just like any other playground. But they're different in one fundamental way -- they're built by kids.
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Grammy Award-winning singer Sarah McLachlan, a 46-year-old divorced mom of two girls, talks about parenting, sex and whether women can have it all.
updated 7:54 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Researchers say physical punishment actually alters the brain.
updated 4:41 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
The case of a South Carolina mother arrested for allegedly leaving her 9-year-old daughter at a park while she was working sparks debate over how young is too young to leave a child alone.
updated 11:15 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
CNN's Kelly Wallace reveals 5 common parenting mistakes that many parents admit to making.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Is it a bad idea for parents to let kids drink underage at home, or does an early sip make drinking less taboo? Studies are divided on the subject, which is a tough nut for parents to crack.
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Kids who takes cellphones to bed are not sleeping, says Mel Robbins. Make them park their phones with the parents at night
updated 2:40 PM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
Professional photographer Timothy Archibald uses his camera to connect with his autistic son.
Post your personal essays and original photos, and tell us how it really is.
cnn, parents, parenting, logo
Get the latest kid-related buzz, confessions from imperfect parents and the download on the digital life of families here at CNN Parents.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT