Saturday, October 07, 2006

When it's Time to Take a Stand

We live in an increasingly risk adverse society. Following the death from a falling branch of a Sydney child on a school camp, a normally sensible Sydney radio commentator suggested that school camps should be allowed so long as the site was at least 50 metres from the nearest tree.

Sometimes it is necessary to take a stand. This can be done by people of all ages. The following letter was written by a Sydney Year 5 student on her own volition and in her own words following her school's decision to ban chasings in the playground on safety grounds. Some identifying details have been removed to protect the school.

"Dear Mrs. XXXXXXX

Year 4/5 and year 5 believe that the new rule you put in place “No running on the playground” is unreasonable.

Year 4/5 and Year 5 would like the option of enjoying more physical activity at recess and lunch. We believe that running games increase our level of fitness and help us to use up our energy that may otherwise lead to a noisy and frustrated classroom.

We aren’t allowed to play netball or basketball, only shooting, which is dreadfully boring.

The limited amount of handball courts (only 5 courts for 8 classes) makes it difficult to get a court.

The peace garden is a wonderful place to sit, talk and play chess, but in year 5, we don’t want to spend all of our break time sitting and talking.

We have adequate skipping ropes, it’s true, but there are never any free spots to skip. And besides, not many people in our class actually enjoy skipping.

We have the equipment, but the year 2 children are constantly playing on it.

Mrs. XXX says that running increases our level of fitness and alertness. She encourages her class to complete 14 laps of the playground each morning.

Your decision to stop running in the playground is based on safety and the fact that the playground is uneven in some places. Every day, all year, Mrs. XXX’s class has run around the playground and in that whole time there has only been one minor incident.

I know that after reading this letter you may think that we sound like incredibly spoilt children, but we are in year 5, and we would just really, really appreciate it if you would let us run.

I would like to suggest that just as the Peace Garden is place of quite and reflection, a part of the playground could be put aside for “active” games including running. This would mean that the children, who wanted to, could run around and not disturb or affect those who did not. This would also be a safe alternative to not running at all.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this.

This letter was drafted by XXXX in year 5D.

These are all of the people in our class who believe that we should be allowed to run around at both recess and lunch. "

This was followed by the signatures of the class. The letter was slipped under the Head's door to make sure that she got it. I understand running has been reinstated. Her parents are understandably proud.


Travel Italy said...

I am always amazed, unfortunately this occurs with greatest frequency, how really stupid we are.

People lose lawuits because they are negligent (usually) not because of some activity, but instead of doing things to hire qualified individuals and train our employees correctly, what do we do, just eliminate the activity!

Free market at its best, school kids cannot run. Perhaps the parents will sue ten years from now because the kids become obese since the school prohibited them from developing their motor skills!

C'mon, a bit of common sense.

Jim Belshaw said...

David, I know it's stupid. But at least in this case a year 5 girl had the guts and capacity to challenge and change the system.