FUN UPDATE!!! School Bans Cartwheels

HEY! I forgot to add the video I made a few years ago about a cartwheel ban. Enjoy!

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Yes, a school in Canada banned cartwheels. What’s worst about this is the school’s reasoning:

Cartwheels have been banned at M.T. Davidson Public School in Callander.

Cartwheels are not permitted on school property in the playground rules section of the school’s draft handbook for 2017-18. The rule came into effect this school year even though injuries have not been reported, principal Todd Gribbon admitted.

“The activity can cause concussions, and neck and wrist injuries,” he said.

True — an activity, including a cartwheel, can cause injury. Walking down the stairs can cause falls resulting in concussions, neck and wrist injuries. Walking outside can get you hit by a car. Swimmers can drown. Bakers can catch their hair on fire. Those brave enough to consume solid food can choke. Students sitting still too long can get embolisms.

The precautionary principle — why do something that could cause harm? — seems prudent until you realize it often doesn’t distinguish between a calculated risk and “WHAT IF SOMETHING TERRIBLE HAPPENS???” Recall that just the other day, a New York Times reporter said it was a bad idea for a kid to mow a lawn, even if it’s the White House lawn, because there could be an accident. Really, we are idiots when it comes to risk. We think that there’s risk vs. no risk — so why would any ever choose the former?

Because it’s always risk vs. other risk, world. The risk of walking to school seems too great to many people, who forget there’s a risk in being driven. There’s a risk in doing cartwheels that is offset by the risk of not doing cartwheels. Kids playing, loving the outside, running around, being active, learning balance — all parts of cartwheeling — may heighten their risk of wrist injuries while lowering their risk of obesity, heart disease and school-hating-syndrome. The risk of learning to TAKE a risk decreases the crippling fear OF risks. The crippling fear OF risks (also known as “insurance brain”) leads to faulty risk assessments.

Which leads to no carthwheels. – L

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Told ya so! 

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37 Responses to FUN UPDATE!!! School Bans Cartwheels

  1. Silver Fang September 20, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    I think banning all this physical activity is going to lead us to be a lazier, clumsier species. Someday we’re going to be like those fatties in Wall-E and need hovering chairs to get anywhere.

  2. Helen Armstrong September 20, 2017 at 10:51 am #

    I’ve told this story before on this website but I’ll reiterate it one more time. When my daughter was 8 years old, the principal at her school tried to stop her friends and her from doing gymnastic moves in the play yard (on grass) because someone had broken their arm the previous year doing a cartwheel or some such thing. I told my daughter that her friends and she should write a letter, explaining why they thought they should be allowed to continue doing their gymnastics. In the end, the principal relented, only banning somersaults, due to the presence of pine cones (they’re like grenades, don’t you know!). It just goes to show that if one doesn’t automatically accept the status quo, and presents cogent arguments for one’s own position, positive changes can be made.

  3. underbridge September 20, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    Solution: kids refrain from such risky activity (other than as part of organised gymnastics) while the school is /in loco parentis/, and carry on cartwheeling outside school hours, subject to parental approval.

    Who’s likely to be liable if a child is hurt on the playground? The school.
    Who gets sued? The school.
    Why wouldn’t the school mitigate this by reducing risks?

  4. Theresa Hall September 20, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    You can hurt anywhere doing anything. Running away from possible injury doesn’t do a bit of good sooner or later you will get hurt. You can’t go through life without at least one injury big or small. I once bruised my ribs learning to inline skate but expect for a bit soreness when I bent over I turned out just fine and healed just fine. Life has injuries just try to be reasonable when comes.to safety. Like don’t climb a mountain without the proper gear that would foolish and unsafe. But a helmet on a swing set is silly not needed for safety.

  5. Dienne September 20, 2017 at 11:36 am #

    By that logic, underbridge, they shouldn’t allow students *in* the school. Who’s liable if kids get hurt walking in the hallways or eating in the cafeteria or falling out of their chair from boredom?

  6. Emily September 20, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    Well, public school can lead to groupthink, distrust of authority, dampened enthusiasm for learning, musculoskeletal problems, compromised physical fitness, and obesity, along with attention issues, from sitting too long, so maybe we’d better ban that. Unlike cartwheeling injuries, people HAVE reported all of these things actually happening to their children in public schools.

  7. Helen Armstrong September 20, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    Great comments, Dienne and Emily!

  8. John B. September 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

    @underbridge:

    Well you know, you actually bring up a good point. I realize this is a school up in Canada banning cartwheels BUT schools here in the USA, particularly in California, are just as ridiculous. That’s because we have put ALL responsibility on the schools for the safety of their young students. Not only IN the schools and on the playground during school hours but we seem to think it should be the schools’ responsibility for the safety of kids going to and from the school, before and after school hours, and even well off school property. This is unrealistic in my opinion. Because if a kid riding his bike to school gets hit by a car 4 blocks from the school, we seem to think it’s the school’s fault. If 2 kids get into an after school fight well off school property, it’s the school’s fault. If a kid cyber bullies another kid from his or her home during the evening hours, we expect the school to take action.

    So is it a wonder why schools nowadays get into parents’ business and demand that they stop allowing their kid to walk or ride their bike to school? Now, there comes a time when the schools need to stop being paranoid of lawsuits. There comes a time when the schools need to be realistic in that kids will roughhouse, kids will tumble, kids will play, kids will fall down, kids will get into accidents and that allowing kids to be kids should trump all fears of lawsuits. But putting unrealistic responsibilities on the schools certainly doesn’t help matters.

  9. Roger the Shrubber September 20, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

    ‘…carry on cartwheeling outside school hours, subject to parental approval.’

    You cannot be for real. What other ‘risky’ activities should require parental approval? Hopscotch? Skipping? Does frolicking require a permission slip in your world?

  10. Bmj2k September 20, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    I’m waiting for gym class to be sitting in front of computers reading about physical health. Thats where this is headed.

  11. AmyP September 20, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

    Life causes death. If we want to solve all injury and death we can just ban life. Problem solved.

  12. shdd September 20, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

    Schools are already headed in that direction in Montgomery County, MD. Last year my daughter had tests in “dance” class which wasn’t that much “dance.” This year in yoga she had a test on Muscles today. At least my daughter had the good sense to stretch while preparing for her Muscles test.

    My daughter learned how to do a cartwheel on the elementary school playground and perfected it in middle school including using it in two middle school plays. Pretty soon they will look at the video and ask what is she doing and why can’t we do that.

  13. Emily September 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

    >>‘…carry on cartwheeling outside school hours, subject to parental approval.’

    You cannot be for real. What other ‘risky’ activities should require parental approval? Hopscotch? Skipping? Does frolicking require a permission slip in your world?<<

    The other thing is, for a good six months of the year, it's winter, so it gets dark early. Let's say that elementary school gets out at 3:30 (because that's what most of the schools here do). By late November/early December, it gets dark around 4:30, 5 p.m. tops, and once you factor in travel time getting home from school (if the kids aren't allowed to play freely on the playground after hours, because of potential lawsuits, or because it's being used by the after-school program, or some other reason), that eats up almost all of the potential daylight hours in which the kids can do "risky" activities, such as cartwheeling, sledding, climbing trees, hanging upside down on the monkey bars, jumping out of swings, and all the things kids have been doing since the beginning of time, that schools won't allow anymore, because they're afraid of being sued. Sure, kids can still do those things on the weekends, but……really? That's two days out of seven that they're allowed to play freely and be kids, versus five days that they're not, and that just doesn't sound very healthy. A lot of adults injure themselves by doing the "weekend warrior" thing (sedentary all week, and then massive workouts on Saturdays and Sundays), so I don't know why anyone thinks that's a good idea for children. Besides, weekend time tends to get eaten up with homework and organized activities anyway.

  14. lollipoplover September 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    At first glance, I thought the Cartwheel app for Target was outlawed lest we have bargain-minded kids saving money on their purchases at tarjay.

    You know what else causes wrist injuries?
    Writing with pens and pencils.
    Ban writing and keyboards.

    Neck injuries like bending forward on phones and devises send more people to doctors than cartwheels. Ban those too.

    What about round offs? I do a better roundoff than cartwheel. Ways to get around the bans…if you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.

  15. R September 20, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

    Insurance brain also prevents teen pregnancy! 🙂

  16. lightbright September 20, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

    “The activity can cause concussions, and neck and wrist injuries.”

    Oh for the love of all things holy. I **HATE** statements phrased as “X can cause Y,” especially when their wielded in a way to monitor and control others. P.E. classes can cause sports-related injuries, but *no* P.E. can cause obesity, diabetes, and early heart disease. Art class can cause self-esteem destruction when kids don’t like their projects, and it can cause outbursts of creativity. Anything can cause anything.

    At the root of the problem is the notion that authorities from schools and elsewhere feel entitled to dictate which petty risks children can or cannot take.

  17. Lois Marshall September 20, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

    I did not have a chance to learn to do cartwheels in school, because our gym classes were outside on hot top, a bad place to learn to fall. Had they been indoors, I think I would have been successful, especially if a mat had been used. As it was, I attempted my first cartwheel on a lawn with long grass…and a rock just hidden where my head came down! Ouch, it causes quite a bump on my head, and a definite disinclination to cartwheels thereafter.

  18. Donald September 20, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

    A school is a business just like any other. They perform a service for money. They get paid by the government. (if they are a public school) All schools (public or private) have had their budget tightened so much that they have to ‘rob Peter in order to pay Paul’.

    Insurance is also a business. They increase profits by reducing payouts. One of the ways that they do this is to offer two insurance packages. Package ‘A’ will cost $$$$$. Package ‘B’ will cost $$$. However, in order to get package B, you have to do ridiculous things such as ban cartwheels.

  19. Donald September 20, 2017 at 6:44 pm #

    This ban is stupid. However, instead of addressing your hate mail to the schools, address it to the insurance companies.

  20. Donald September 20, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    “while the school is /in loco parentis/….”

    Underbridge brought up a great point. Lets target loco parentitis! For many people, pointing blame is a knee-jerk reaction. If something goes wrong, let’s blame someone for negligence. This has spread like the black plauge and is also quite destructive!

    This is also why insurance CEO’s are batshit crazy.

  21. Theresa Hall September 20, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

    It also why schools make terrible parents. Because rule one of business is money. Rule one of parents is kids best interests first even if they have to hurt at times. And those two rules can’t be both number one at the same time.

  22. JL September 20, 2017 at 11:13 pm #

    Oh my, this would be a problem for my daughter. She’s a gymnast and, like most of her gymnast friends, cartwheels are a primary method of locomotion. Walking across a playground without doing a cartwheel would take an enormous amount of self control. Oddly enough, my daughter has never injured herself doing cartwheels, but the number of times she’s injured herself walking across a room has become a family joke. If it’s the bigger risk we’re worried about, they should instead ban walking for some children.

  23. Garfield Pennington September 21, 2017 at 12:39 am #

    As a practicing physical education teacher for over half a century, I am disgusted at this kind of bureaucratic, restrictive thinking and policy. We are robbing children of their right to play and take calculated risks. Childhood is a time of experiencing challenge and adventure. We must not domesticate our kids. Actually, over-protecting children makes them more vulnerable to injury and other detrimental experiences. We must continue to ask what kind of experiences are essential in the development of well rounded people and are we fostering those elements or not.
    Research does not support the claims of those who wish to retard and restrain children from freedom to move , explore and discover in very natural, time-honored ways. I do hope that our misguided administrators and policy makers will ‘get a life’ so that they don’t rob our kids of a life of their own. When we restrict things in these way we are doing a great disservice to youth and we are negating our precious heritage of what children has enjoyed and benefited from for centuries.

  24. Donald September 21, 2017 at 2:16 am #

    Underbridge brought up a great point and I urge you to write a post on it.

    How about a collection of past posts that reek of loco parentitis?

    Examples would be:

    The mother that wanted all acorn trees cut down that her nut-allergy daughter has to walk past.
    or
    The teen that pulled a prank that ended in tragedy? He climbed the flagpole to hang up some women’s underwear. Unfortunately, he fell. The question was then asked, why wasn’t there more supervision? The school is at fault because of it!

    Lets target loco parentitis! Children should learn how to read and write at school. We shouldn’t be teaching them that, “It’s everybody else’s fault except mine”!

    We can’t expect schools to act sensibly if a large percentage of parents don’t.

  25. elizabeth September 21, 2017 at 2:24 am #

    Oh, for the love of…! I have carpal tunnel syndrome from writing, drawing, typing, needlework, and playing instruments. I have neck problems from looking down at what i was reading too long. I dont think cartwheels are the problem for me because i could never do them.

  26. SteveS September 21, 2017 at 8:28 am #

    Why blame the insurance company? There doesn’t appear to be any evidence that they are behind this ban. If it were, this would be much more widespread.

    All levels of government are capable of making stupid policies, though the more local ones tend to be the worse offenders. While I think this ban is silly, is it possible that they were dealing with an unusual number of cartwheel related injuries and this was the solution they came up with?

  27. Anna September 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

    This school is forgetting a major risk specific to school yards where constructive fun activities are banned: kids who don’t have anything better to do on the playground generally spend recess fighting instead. My elementary school had virtually no play equipment or field, and most fun activities were not permitted (such as playing games that involved bouncing tennis balls against a wall, snowballs, pretty much anything fun we came up with) and that schoolyard was the most poisonous hotbed of teasing, taunting, ostracizing, bullying, and outright fistfights you can imagine.

  28. Theresa Hall September 21, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    I hated the no snowball rule when I was in school. I wanted to make snowmen but to do that I would had to make a snowball and break the rule. The middle school playground was just a field nothing in it and was not fun. I spent most of my time reading which was more fun than the playground which was just a field.

  29. meg September 21, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    I just heard about this on the radio & came here to see if you’d heard. Apparently you are more on point than I am. 🙂

  30. Donald September 21, 2017 at 5:55 pm #

    @SteveS

    You’re right. What I said came out wrong. I wanted to say that the blame doesn’t stop with the school. They’re only reacting because of several other things. It’s unfair that insurance should shoulder all of the blame.

    Insurance reacts because of the legal tsunami
    who react from judges
    who react from politicians
    who react from loco parentitis

    The cost of medical is a problem as well
    who react from pharmaceutical companies
    who react from the legal tsunami

    And so on. Furthermore, I take back my comment
    “insurance CEO’s are batshit crazy.”

  31. James September 21, 2017 at 6:10 pm #

    “I think banning all this physical activity is going to lead us to be a lazier, clumsier species. Someday we’re going to be like those fatties in Wall-E and need hovering chairs to get anywhere.”

    I resemble that remark!!!!!

    More exercise is needed, when I went to school I was on the swings one day and fell off backwards. It’s normal for children to get hurt. I did, my classmates did and we had fun playing games like tag and running around, kickball and even British bulldog!

    Better outlaw tether ball, tennis, hockey, basketball and running.

    On second thought just cancel PE and wrap them in bubble wrap.

  32. Theresa Hall September 21, 2017 at 6:16 pm #

    Anyone who gets to be in charge of someone else life tends to lose most of their common sense. I not sure why if it the power going to their heads or maybe it’s insurance yelling at them. Maybe it’s all the crazies they have to deal with. Who knows? The fact is that people in charge can act like idiots and will make stupid rules.

  33. Donald September 21, 2017 at 9:10 pm #

    “I think banning all this physical activity is going to lead us to be a lazier, clumsier species. Someday we’re going to be like those fatties in Wall-E and need hovering chairs to get anywhere.”

    This is true and I’d like to add to it. The laziness doesn’t only affect people physically. It gives people ‘lazy brain’. This is a big reason for the upswing in social media, drama binging and smartphones. It’s also one of the causes of loco parentitis, trigger warning, and how people can become an emotional candy ass!

    This video talks about phones but it touches on the ‘lazy brain’ concept

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDcm6twPEJA

  34. Nicole R. September 22, 2017 at 6:23 am #

    “Because it’s always risk vs. other risk, world.”

    SO true!!!

  35. Dingbat September 24, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    @lightbright

    Well said!

    When I was in kindergarten teachers often forced you do things/take risks you didn’t want to. Doctors gave me a note saying I couldn’t run because my feet turned in as a child (happened due to awkward positioning in the womb), I was trying to pick the best option to correct it and they were worried I could trip and fall. My PE teacher made me do it anyway. I didn’t trip or fall. I ran a bit slower at first because I was being more careful, and picked up as I worked on correcting the problem with ballet (first position is a wonderful thing). He didn’t care, as long as I tried.

    Attitudes and eagerness to litigate have changed immensely.

  36. Jonathan Wilson September 25, 2017 at 5:18 am #

    This is yet another example of schools adopting a zero tolerance policy towards anything that might vaguely cause even the slightest injury to a child.

    We need an end to this ridiculous notion that schools are somehow liable because a kid was doing some unstructured physical activity at recess or lunch time, had an accident and got hurt when the school took reasonable steps to ensure the activity was safe (e.g. not allowing gymnastics moves on hard asphalt and telling people to do it on the soft grass instead)

  37. Dora September 27, 2017 at 9:20 am #

    And during the night, while you are sleeping, your heart might simply stop beating…