Recently, a school in Toronto banned “the ball” from school. The whole school. They are opting for something safer like badminton and bean bag tossing. My old school board, TDSB (Toronto District School Board) is considering a board wide ban. What’s next? Banning pencils?
Watch the video below for a great response to this issue. It would all be farcical if indeed there weren’t some really serious issues involved.
One of the joys of working outside of North America as a teacher has been not being overburdened with issues of “student safety”. Filling out reams of forms for the simplest of “outdoor” activities and excursions. Constant monitoring of students wherever they are, whatever they are doing (are we “guards”?). Etc….
In the U.S. and Canada, teachers (and by default school boards) can be held accountable under civil law for student injury. So the issues are serious and wideranging. Here’s one interesting case as an example, one of many. This is one cause of the fixation on student safety.
Further, beyond issues of civil suits and legal negligence, there is the issue of just “what is school?”. I mean, school is often seen as a place for “the neck up” as Ken Robinson would frame it. That despite all our progressive rhetoric, school is still seen as a place where we filter kids for academics and “brain power”. The arts, movement, sports – all just add ons and if issues of safety do arise, they can be easily sacrificed because our philosophy of education doesn’t really take them seriously.
Listen to Rex Murphy and let these issues stir and simmer. What do you believe? How is it in your own part of the world?
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