A SYDNEY primary school imposed a clapping ban on its students in favour of “silent cheers” because one of its teachers wears hearing aids and found the noise of applause too loud, the NSW Government has said.
The admission by Education Minister Adrian Piccoli came after news.com.au’s storyabout Elanora Heights Public School’s ban on clapping announced in a school newsletter.
The latest edition of the northern beaches school’s newsletter advised parents that “silent cheering”, “pulling excited faces” and “punching the air” had replaced clapping to respect “members of our school community who are sensitive to noise”.
Mr Piccoli took to radio on Wednesday evening to defend the ban, saying “the school is supporting a teacher with a disability. The teacher has asked for instances where there is cause for applause, for this not to be done loudly”.
Overnight, Elanora Heights school has removed the July 18, “Term 3 Week 1” edition containing the item about the clapping ban from the school’s website. [Read the rest here.]
A dear relative of mine wears a hearing aid and I see her grimace when she’s suddenly accosted by a loud sound. And I like the idea of kids being sensitive to the needs of others. That being said, I do still have to wonder whether it makes sense to squelch a normal, exuberant part of childhood — part of adulthood, too — when the apparently solitary person affected by it could presumably leave the room.
This is really an issue I wonder about: Is it insensitive to ask a hyper-sensitive person to either make accommodations or absent themselves?
I don’t want to be a jerk. I don’t want to be a mom insisting that my kid’s right to XYZ trumps your kid’s serious condition. I just do wonder when it makes sense for the group to accommodate the individual and when it makes sense for the individual to accommodate the group. – L