Windham schools reverse post-Sandy Hook ban on dodgeball, other 'human target' games
In March, the board voted 4-1 in favor of removing dodgeball and nine other games from the curriculum in response to parents' concerns about bullying and student safety. In May, an 11-member committee of district physical education teachers, administrators and other community members was tasked with reviewing the board's decision after the board heard from various community members and students asking for the return of the games.
Golden Brook School Vice Principal Rory O'Connor, one of the original panel members to recommend removing dodgeball, told the board that the study committee was charged with "taking a closer look at the violent nature of these games ... and to make sure student safety remains paramount" and they took their duties seriously.
For those who prefer not to dodge flying objects in their gym classes, there will also be plenty of alternatives."We went through existing studies and determined that certain games had violent characteristics, specifically at the middle school level," O'Connor said, noting that the game of "Slaughter" has been re-named "Numero Uno."During high school games for the newly renamed "Cageball," students will have the option of partaking in an alternative activity, such as independent workout time in the gym, according to O'Connor.
"I've had all of George Carlin's famous words on my answering machine," she said. "I had to take my phone number off the district website."School administrators vowed to pay close attention to what's going on in their gym classes, noting that though games in question are played with soft, Nerf balls, those who aren't comfortable with such games shouldn't be forced to do so. "Like any other subject, we're holding ourselves to a higher standard," Windham Center School Principal Kori-Alice Becht said.
Senibaldi said he was disappointed that his fellow school officials "spent so much time and energy about a game that's only played a few times each year."
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