Ball-Playing Banned for 15 Mins Before & After School

Hi Folks – A hzybsfinda
school in Australia is banning balls
for the 15 minutes before and after school because, according to The Age newspaper, a toddler was hit by a ball.

Of course I feel bad for the toddler. But I feel far worse for the 600 kids at this school, Black Rock Primary, in Melbourne.

It might seem like, “Well, we’re only talking about controlling the chaos during the busiest time, when all the kids are gathered and it’s so crowded.” But that is the CRUCIAL time for playing. Fifteen minutes after school, if a game hasn’t started, the kids are gone. It’s a lot harder to start a game when no one’s there. And I know that, for one of my sons at least, the day starts out a lot better if it begins with a little running around.

Also — and I say this not knowing this particular school,  but based on what I see at elementary schools where I live — maybe one of the reasons “drop-off” is so crowded is because the children are all accompanied by adults. If the parents would let the kids arrive or at least wait on their own, there might be a lot more space for kids to play, and a lot fewer adults and toddlers to bonk.

The head of the Australian Football League, Andrew Demetriou, is begging the school to drop the ban. “I’m sick of hearing these stories!…Everyone is being spooked by lititation and insurance.” Now I’ll add my begging, too:

AUSTRALIA!! Do not become like my country, stymied by the twin fears of something going wrong and someone filing suit. It’s the path to stagnation! Turn back whilst ye may! Take a ball and knock yourself on the head if you must — you’ll see it’s annoying but not that big a deal! – L

P.S. And this just in! My friend just messaged me  that her elementary school is banning tag. Same reason. It’s too “dangerous.” What ISN’T dangerous? Sitting around getting fat and diabetic from age 5 because you haven’t learned to enjoy one single OUNCE of outdoor play?

P.P.S. And people wondered why I wanted to start an afterschool class where kids would have to come up with something fun to do outside without any adult instruction, direction or snacks…

Unhand that dangerous item, child!


44 Responses to Ball-Playing Banned for 15 Mins Before & After School

  1. Suzi September 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Let the kids play!!!

  2. Lollipoplover September 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    “It’s just for the 15-minute period for the drop-off in the morning, and the pick-up at night, that 15-minute period. We’ve got nearly 600 students at the school. In that time there are about 1000 people in the yard,” Ms Luiten told 3AW.”

    OK, I am no “ball ban” expert, but I do understand basic math:
    There are only 600 students, but 1000 crowding the yard. Who are the other 400 people in the yard?! THERE lies your problem.

    You’re welcome.

  3. Selby September 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    600-1000 kids in the playyard and only 1 toddler got hit with a ball? That is a *spectacular* safety record!!!!

  4. Becky September 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Gah! The world is losing its mind. 🙁

  5. Dave September 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    My granddaughter’s school band ball playing during recess because it was too dangerous and replaced it with reading. So the break in the school day was replaced with more school work to keep the kids safe. My grandsons school replaced running around in gym with the students giving each other back rubs. Kids need to run. In the words of my grandsons’ karate teacher when a kid gets a little banged up, “get over it.” no one died getting hit by a ball.

  6. mollie September 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Hurtling toward a certain demise, humanity is.

    Your little bit of morning cheer.

  7. Yan Seiner September 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Well, next they’ll have to ban curbs because a toddler stubbed his toe. And then sidewalks, and fences, and while we’re at it, let’s made the schools of foam rubber.

    “Several parents” expressed concern so 600 kids are banned from playing. One kid gets hit and 600 get banned.

    My son’s school banned (American) football during recess last year because several children were continuously using racial epithets and picking fights with some players during play. In that case it made sense as it was an issue that apparently could not be corrected by the kids or the teachers. Most of the kids supported the ban since they did not want to deal with the few bad kids who were taking all the fun out of the game.

    This year it’s back, no problems so far, and the kids are doing a good job policing themselves.

    But banning play because a child got hit by a ball – oh horrors! Maybe ban playing with hard balls, or allow only nerf balls, or something, but let the kids play.

    It doesn’t even say the toddler got hurt, just hit.

  8. Warren September 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    We are missing the real point here people.. “a toddler was hit”………that would imply the child was not even a student. Rather a toddler dragged behind a helicoptering mother who couldn’t just drop her older child off, but rather had to “endanger” her toddler, by taking her into the danger zone.

    Instead of banning ball play, ban the parents, from entering the play area, with small children.

  9. Cynthia812 September 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    At my son’s school (k-2), they go to the movie room and watch movies before school. I can’t tell you how much that irritates me.

  10. Irene Lewis September 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    My kids went to a school were the kids got out of the car/bus and had to walk, without talking, to their class, where they were to “quitely” do “morning” work until school started. At lunch they didn’t want the kids to talk because they wouldn’t have time to eat there lunch. At recess the princpal told the classes where they could play,
    the days that they had to walk around a parking lot was not a popular day. That was the public school, now my kids go to a private school.

  11. Stephanie September 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    My kids’ school handles the crowd issues by not allowing balls in certain areas. Parents don’t walk through the playground – it’s off to one side, so as long as the balls stay over there, no problem with crowds. If the school has room, that seems a much more sensible solution.

    Matter of fact, they used to have the playground fenced off and didn’t allow parents over there. The fence has since been taken down, so parents and siblings are sometimes over there, but it’s by choice.

  12. R0bRay September 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    To Dave: Back rubs in gym? And no helicopter parents think that is inappropriate?

  13. pentamom September 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    What was a “toddler” doing in a school yard? Unless they’re defining toddler differently than I do (“one who toddles,” generally under age 2 1/2) or unless there’s a daycare attached to the school, this is yet another indicator that the school yard is too crowded with people who don’t belong there.

    “Rather a toddler dragged behind a helicoptering mother who couldn’t just drop her older child off, but rather had to “endanger” her toddler, by taking her into the danger zone.”

    Well, it’s possible that this school is like some of the more insane ones in the U.S. that actually don’t allow kids to get there on their own, and the mom was required to do this.

  14. Brad Warbiany September 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    “And I know that, for one of my sons at least, the day starts out a lot better if it begins with a little running around.”

    Agreed completely. In fact, my son’s [private] school Principal told us the same thing. School starts at 8:30, but you can drop off the kids as early as 8:00, and she actively recommended that boys should be dropped off a bit early so they could run around and get some of that energy out. So I always get him there between 8:00 and 8:10.

    They also happen to have volunteers set up to unload kids from the car. So when I pull up, he gets out, grabs his backpack, and yells “bye daddy” as I drive away. I suspect this is because they don’t particularly want helicopter parents sticking around all the way until 8:30. (Note: I *would* prefer to walk to school with him, but it’s 6 miles. So instead I avoid the safety hysteria by driving him to school in a Jeep, with the top down 😉 )

  15. Jacqueline September 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    This reminds me of when the day camp I worked at decided that children couldn’t be running around during drop off in the morning (and there weren’t parents around, generally), so we had to play with them in place. Well, the first day of the new policy, one of my campers got hit in the back of her head with a ball, despite everyone doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing. Whoops!

  16. C.J. September 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    My kids school encourages kids being dropped of 15 minutes early so they can run around a see their friends a bit before school starts. We have a drop off spot behind the schoolyard. Kids jump out of the car and go in the school yard themselves. If the kids that walk have a parent with them the parent might walk them to the gate but they don’t go in. I have never seen a parent go in the schoolyard with them. After school there are some siblings and parents of walkers in the schoolyard picking up. Those that drive their kids to school usually stay in their cars. We live in the county so more kids are either bussed or driven than walk. Kids are sometimes playingafter school but they aren’t playing near the doors where the parents are. They play in the field.

  17. Sophie September 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    I’m happy to report that at my daughter’s school (550 students aged 5-13, New Zealand) each class has a plastic bin full of balls for the kids to play with before school, during breaks and for a little while after. Some also bring their own too. I work in the office and while we do get a few injuries in the sickbay no one has ever suggested banning the balls!

  18. AW13 September 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    @Jacqueline: Your post reminded me of something! When I was 16, I volunteered at a summer day camp. I’d really bonded with one of the little girls (she was 6, I think), and she asked me for a piggy back ride during unscheduled, post-lunch time. So I gave her one. She asked me to go faster. So I did. And then the extra weight on my back messed with my sense of balance, and I went sliding across the gym floor. I did what I could to prevent her from getting hurt – she received a small bump, nothing fatal (I took the brunt of the injuries). As soon as the tears ended, she wanted to do it again. I had to decline, obviously, but I don’t recall a blanket ban on piggy-back riding being instituted. I also recall that her mother didn’t seem too concerned about what had happened when she came to pick up her daughter at the end of the day. Since this little girl was diabetic, her mom was more concerned that she eat properly, but I also recall that mom provided us with the appropriate snacks for her daughter’s snack time, rather than expect the camp to change the snacks for everyone. That would have been in 1994. My how things have changed.

  19. Amanda September 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    whenever i hear stuff like this i think of this song. Disregard mind in the gutter commets only vid i could find.

  20. Donna September 14, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Balls belong in elementary schools; toddler’s don’t. My guess is that the two can coexist, but if we insist on banning things, shouldn’t it be the one in the equation that doesn’t actually have any need to be at the school to start with?

  21. Kimberly September 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    We have banned tag – because a tag becomes a slap and a slap becomes a fight. It was the highest cause of discipline referrals and injuries. When we can retrain them to play without slapping/fighting in PE – we will revisit it on the play ground.

    Kids are encouraged to run races, play games. we have balls, jumpropes, chalk, climb on the equipment.

  22. BL September 14, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    Banning should be banned.

  23. Captain America September 14, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    Good grief! How can their be childhood without the game of Tag?

    utterly bonkers

  24. Earth.W September 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    It is all very pathetic. My country, Australia is full of fear. Surprised we shower for the fear of drowning or that the soap might bite. Not helped with Police urging children to never be alone.

  25. Earth.W September 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    Adding to my previous post, parents are charged here if you live a child alone under a certain age. In Queensland, it is about 11 years old.

  26. Jess L. September 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    I can’t help it – I have to speak up about the tag comment. Tag is 100% banned at my outdoor education organization, and we give kids carving knives and let them climb trees and shoot foam arrows at each other and teach them how to build/light fires. But because of its lack of any meaningful goal or coherence, I believe tag to be more dangerous and likely to cause injury (and certainly infinitely lamer!) than almost any other game kids can come up with to play. 🙂

  27. Donna September 14, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    “But because of its lack of any meaningful goal or coherence, I believe tag to be more dangerous and likely to cause injury (and certainly infinitely lamer!) than almost any other game kids can come up with to play.”

    Every minute of life – adult or child – does not need to be a part of a “meaningful goal or coherence.” There can be moments that are just about having fun. I’m sure they exist but I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t like to play tag. Otherwise it would not have stood the test of hundreds of years of childhood tag playing. There is nothing wrong with engaging in an activity that has no purpose whatsoever other than fun. And I’ve yet to see major tag injury.

  28. Silver Fang September 15, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    It really sucks to be a kid today.

  29. Jenna September 15, 2012 at 1:10 am #

    This is rich. My 1-year-old is OBSESSED with balls. He sees a grape, he thinks it’s a ball. He sees a light fixture shaped like a sphere and cries because he wants to play with it like a ball. He took the little beads off my daughter’s necklace and rolled them on the floor, calling them balls.

    He is also the youngest of five kids, and with three older brothers, things can get pretty wild around here. I can’t even count the number of times a ball has hit him smack in the face. Yet he’s just fine and he STILL LOVES BALLS!

    It does suck to be a kid today.

  30. LC September 15, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    EONS ago in the 90s, we were allowed to do crazy things like jump off swings, climb up slides and then turn around and slide down headfirst, play dodgeball, jump rope on CEMENT and even play unsupervised flashlight tag–AT NIGHT. Unfortunately, due to a genetic mutation affecting nearly 100% of the American school-aged population (and apparently also becoming common in Australia), minor injuries are now nearly often fatal. The youngest members of this generation will likely need clothing lined completely in bubble wrap to survive to adulthood. Additionally, prison escapes are at epidemic levels. Escapees are nearly always serial child abductors with a history of sexual predation and murder. The ratio of these heinous criminals to children is nearly 6 to 1 and climbing. The only guaranteed way to protect your child from grave harm is by waiting to cut the umbilical cord until the child has finished formal education and obtained a job with sufficient salary to hire personal body guards.

  31. Justin September 15, 2012 at 3:27 am #

    I wonder what these people would think of a game my friends and I played when we were in grade school. Dodgeball was a little too pedestrian for us so we invented a game called razorball. One ball, the playing field was the entire playground, you could go anywhere, and there were no teams. Get hit the arm you can’t use that arm for the rest of the game. Get hit in the leg you can’t use that leg. The only way to be eliminated was to be hit in the head. people would either hate it and play something else or they would figure out how to survive. It was great. Now we would be considered monsters.

    (Being blasted in the head with a ball was really rare because a head is tough to hit on a moving target that can use their arms to shield it. Most eliminations were a short tap to the head of an immobile, student so the person with the ball could maintain possession.)

  32. linvo September 15, 2012 at 3:44 am #

    I must admit that I often get frustrated by the fact that I have to walk through the inevitable soccer game to go find my daughter when I pick her up from After school care. I have bad arthritis and fast moving balls coming towards me scare the hell out of me. But that is just bad organisation on the care organiser’s behalf. There are spots where people do not have to walk that could be designated soccer areas. But it’s not big enough a deal to complain about. I am not about to join the eternal whingers crowd!

    And I think tag is an excellent game for kids to play! I have fond memories of inventing new tag rules and I delight in the fact that my daughter is now doing the same with her friends in school. The most dangerous one we played at school was when you had to join hands with the kid or kids who tagged you. Until in the end there was a line of 20 kids holding hands chasing the one free kid that was left. I can tell you that if you were at the end of that running and weaving line, you had absolutely no control over where you went or how fast! I vividly remember the beams holding up the roof. I smacked into them numerous times when playing that game. And always laughed my head off when that happened because it was so slapstick comedy. 🙂

  33. AnnMarie September 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    At lest the kids get to play…at my daughter’s new elementary school, the kids sit on the ground next to a pole with their teacher’s name on it from the time they arrive, up to 30 minutes before school starts. (And kids are there that early because the place was poorly designed, and tons of parents drop off their kids–although a neighborhood school, there are some major roads, long routes due to lakes and golf courses, and buses are for kids 2 miles+ away only).

    I thought it was just the first week of school..but no, it’s every day. Just sit there.

  34. Lisa September 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Currently at our school there is a big discussion going on about before school routine. Kids are expected to SIT quietly in the quad for up to half an hour – a big split in the staff about this routine. Half want it changed so kids can play and the other half prefer the “quiet” routine as its more manageable. One problem cited by the “quiet” supporters is that parents are arriving with toddlers (and staying!! – what is that about?) and when their toddler gets knocked over the parents are complaining. Its an ongoing discussion and hopefully the “play” supporters will win. Keep you posted

  35. Emily September 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    LC, have you considered a career in stand-up comedy? You’re really funny. As for the new “kids must sit in silence before school and at lunch time” policy, I think it’s asinine–kids need “down time” to run around, play, socialize, etc., or else they won’t be able to focus during instructional time.

  36. ChickyBee September 15, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    *raises hand* I’m one of those annoying parents who walks her kid to class. But I’m heavily pregnant and my son is starting to have a few separation issues (at 6 & a half) so I walk him to his class and – if he wants me to – hang around.

    But ffs! I’m knowingly in a kid playing area, I know there’s every chance of getting bumped into or hit with a ball and it’s on me to be careful. And besides, sh!t happens. I’d rather get hit with a ball than listen to the same mother yell “Don’t run! You’re going to fall and hurt yourself!” every morning.

    And really, I’m at more risk from some of the idiot parents who drive like they’re in a street race and shove me aside instead of taking three extra steps to get past.

  37. Jemma September 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    I just want to stick up for tag here…lack of goal? Huh?? The goal if you are “it” is to get someone else out so you are “not it”. If you are “not it” the goal is not to get tagged/become “it”. Next they’ll be saying there is no goal or cohesion to Marco Polo!

  38. alison September 18, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Meanwhile a school is Sydney has just banned handstands and cartwheels. Unbelievable. See

  39. Crlzmte September 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    What is a toddler doing with kids with balls. 😉 (couldn’t resist) Utah (USA) schools have separate play areas for toddlers (K-1st. grade), and so on… Isn’t this a bit more sensitive sensible. ♥

  40. Keri September 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I find it hilarious (in a sad way) that Australians seem to be as fearful as Americans.

    I find this funny because 1) Australians have this reputation (at least in the U.S.) of being tough, crazy, thrill-seekers–manly Bruces who can only be bested by their even-tougher Sheilas; and 2) Australia’s natural environment is relatively more dangerous than that of the U.S., England, or Europe–what with the deadly snakes, spiders, crocodiles, jellyfish, sharks, and dingos which may or may not drag off babies.

    How did Australia go from Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin to banning football because one kid got hit? When did Australia, of all places, lose its balls? (horrible pun intended.)

    If Aussies are afraid, then there’s no hope for the Western world! Survival is still of the fittest, and we’re losing our fitness. Rapidly.

  41. samvicdrivingschool September 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Heya i am for the primary time here. I found this board and I to find It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to offer something again and aid others such as you helped me.

  42. first aid July 22, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    I am for the playing..Lets kids play what we can do is sombody to guard or monitor them during those times.


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