Education
dodgeball. Photo: Creative Commons/Playing Club Dodgeball at the University of Mary Washington dodgeball. Photo: Creative Commons/Playing Club Dodgeball at the University of Mary Washington  

Revenge of the nerds: New Hampshire school district bans dodgeball

You probably assumed that the dark forces of political correctness and the general wussification of America had long ago wiped out the last vestige of dodgeball — probably during the Clinton administration or something.

Turns out, that’s not true. As of last week, though, a school district in New Hampshire has banned the rite of passage that is dodgeball as a school-sponsored activity.

As the New Hampshire Union Leader reports, the Windham School Board voted 4-1 last week to ban the controversial game as well as all other games involving human targets from its physical education curriculum.

Fear of the risk of concussions and other injuries appears to be the prime motivating factor.

“In my opinion, the human-target games seem contrary to our goal of avoiding concussions,” Superintendent Henry LaBranche told the Union Leader.

LaBranche added that the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) has declared that dodgeball and games of its ilk can also lead to upsetting experiences for some students and even bullying.

School board member Stephanie Wimmer agreed with LaBranche on all counts according to the Union Leader.

“I absolutely support this and we need to make some changes,” she said. “We need to take the violence out of our schools.”

Dennis Senibaldi, the solitary board member who voted against banning dodgeball, told the Union Leader that he believes there are better ways to address bullying. He “definitely couldn’t support banning these games,” he said.

“This is dodgeball; this is American pie,” Senibaldi added. “You cannot deny that there are more injuries in football.”

For the record, the Windham High School Jaguars field a football team. There’s also gymnastics, hockey, and Alpine skiing.

Board members who voted for the ban observed that football players wear protective gear while dodgeball players do not.

In addition to traditional dodgeball, the school district will now forbid 10 other games in which kids can be targets. An example of those other games is one that elementary schoolers play in gym class called “Rescue 911.” (There are two teams. There are Nerf balls. Players on each team throw the balls at the other team’s players. If you get hit, you have to freeze until a teammate unfreezes you.)

LaBranche insisted that the risk of concussions is too great, even with Nerf balls.

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