• Wed, Oct 9 - 9:00 am ET

Long Island Middle School Precious Snowflakes Have Had Their BALLS Taken Away

shutterstock_153455420__1381312396_74.134.205.46Students at Weber Middle School in Port Washington are all going to be a little safer during recess and lunchtime because their school had banned something that has concerned and upset parents for decades. Balls. Footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, lacrosse balls. I’m pretty sure they have also banned pool balls, ping pong balls and also perhaps popcorn balls. They have instead allowed students to play with foam Nerf-Type balls.

Games of tag and cartwheels have also been banned. This all reminds me of this fictional humor piece about the invisible soccer ball!

According to CBS Local:

But Port Washington schools Supt. Kathleen Maloney said the change in policy is warranted due to a rash of playground injuries.

“Some of these injuries can unintentionally become very serious, so we want to make sure our children have fun, but are also protected,” Maloney said.

I am the survivor of a childhood surrounded by balls. I was never injured by one. I’m sure injuries have been caused by balls, even serious ones, but I’m also sure that kids NEED to play and scrape knees and get hurt and get hit in the face with a ball on occasion. This is what childhood is about! I’m not saying that a kid should suffer serious bodily trauma from being struck super hard by a stray ball in the head, but kids have been playing with balls since balls were invented (Did cavepeople have balls? I am sure cavekids played with like petrified dinosaur eggs or something or like old timey people had balls I don’t have time to research the history of balls, OK?) and they need balls! They need to run with them and throw them and kick them. This is just ridiculous. Why ban balls at all? Why not just make every kid wear a helmet at all times? Maybe in this school the walls of the hallways are also made of a hard, concrete type substance and they should cover them all in padding and marshmallow fluff or something.

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Not only do kids need to play active games with balls because playing active games with balls can help kids get exercise, but kids NEED to get physically hurt. When my kids play outside and fall down and get a bruise I am happy about it! None of my kids have broken a limb yet but I think it’s good for kids to get slightly hurt while playing because PEOPLE GET HURT IN LIFE. If your kid never suffers a skinned knee or bruised elbow what will they do when they are grownups and they step on a stray Lego or bang their shin on a coffee table? We will raise them all to head to the emergency room the second they have a splinter. I’m not talking about serious or life threatening injuries that have happened from being hit very hard with a ball, I’m talking about normal playtime here, getting whacked with a kickball or a softball. This has happened to all of us growing up and none of us are damaged from it.

This is all just absurd.  As I said above I feel awful for any parent who has had a child seriously injured, but coming from my own childhood spent playing with balls and surrounded by balls, I would want my kids growing up the same way.

(Yeah yeah I know, go ahead and point out all the unfortunate ball sentences I made above, but you know what I mean)

Update: 

Props to awesome reader Sara610 who found a news article that says this measure is only TEMPORARY which a construction project is going on, and that students can still use “hard balls” in the gym while they are supervised. My question is this: why not just hold recess in the gym until the construction project is over and let the kids have at it?

(Photo: Sebastian Duda/shutterstock)

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  • whyrude?

    who comes up with the title precious snowflakes? I’ve seen it on here before….rude.

    • Andrea

      Ya know, cuz they are “yuniquee”. It’s a joke. Lighten up.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter
    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Because kids who don’t play with balls are freakin’ precious snowflakes and it’s utterly lame

    • Karen Milton

      Well, not exactly. My son has zero coordination – he could fall while he’s sitting in a chair. Sports are just not his thing, so no, he doesn’t play with a ball. He’s not a precious snowflake by any means, and mollycoddling is not why he doesn’t play. I don’t really care why he doesn’t play, he just doesn’t. He doesn’t play because he might trip over a dandelion and break his face, and he knows it.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      ban those damn dandelions

    • Karen Milton

      I’m gonna go a step further and apply the ban to crab grass, rocks of any size and clover. Don’t our children deserve the very best?

    • pixie

      But then what will the kids have to eat and compare tastes to regular grass and leaves?!?!?! D:

    • Karen Milton

      They’re just going to have to make do with the dirt where the grass isn’t versus playground gravel. Safety first!

    • Janok Place

      It’s kind of like the term “sanctimommy”… It’s meant to poke fun at over protective, stuck up parents with no sense of humor. I guess those moms would find it offensive, but the joke is that they find so many things offensive that it’s funny. So, lol.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      use the hand puppets!

    • Karen Milton

      SOMETHING IS RUDE ON THE INTERNET?! I guess there’s a first time for everything, but I have to say, I’m shocked. It’s like a slap in the face for those who don’t know that 4chan exists.

      I’m going to write a strongly worded email to the president of the internet to tell him that my friends and I are going to boycott the internet until it meets my standard of polite behaviour. I’ll put together a petition to sign.

  • Andrea

    We are raising a generation of whimps. I used to play school-sanctioned dodge ball (in PE!). Played with volleyballs. Bruises were not unheard of. I absolutely freakin loved it. Now they play (when they are allowed to do so at all) with like sponge balls. Ridiculous.

    • AmazingE

      We played with volleyballs too. Did kids occasionally get hurt? You betcha. Did our parents freak out about it? No, because 20+ years ago parents seemed to understand that kids sometimes get hurt.

    • Andrea

      Word

    • Justme

      We still play school-sanctioned dodge ball. We have school wide dodge ball tournaments. It is the nurse’s least favorite day of the year.

  • Janok Place

    I was “that kid” with a propensity for receiving stray balls in the face. I hated sports. I was accident prone. I survived. I have no paralyzing fear of my daughter getting smacked in the face with a dodgeball on occasion. If she is afraid to get hit, she’ll do what mommy did and avoid the game. Sports are such an integral part of growing up, my sister is training for Olympics and on a full ride to Chicago U… Where will America find its athletes if they ban athleticism over a few bumps and bruises?

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      I’m also a clumsy kid and got hit in the head with balls a lot. I have to admit, I still tense up if I’m in a field or park near people playing with balls.

      But yeah, banning balls seems like overkill. When a kid in my school broke her arm playing red rover (I think that happened in every school ever at some point, right?), they banned red rover…they didn’t ban all games.

      That said, I do have a bias against hardballs (that one hurt the most) but otherwise, my injuries were minor and the embarrassment was the worst part of it anyway.

    • JLH1986

      I was a high school athlete and in the course of 4 years playing EVERY YEAR someone broke something. I personally (not intentionally) broke the same girls wrist and the next year her rib (in slow pitch softball no less). They didn’t ban sports (or me from them). For me it’s the same concept. Kids sometimes get hurt. I remember recess being a choice, sometimes I played dodge ball or on the monkey bars (where many kids hurt themselves…daily). And some days I read a book. Getting banged up is the fun of being a kid (and learning not to do stupid stuff twice and to throw a ball too hard etc.)

    • Karen Milton

      When my husband was six he managed to break his skull falling off a climber. There was sand underneath, but it was January, which is not an optimal sand-having month. He had the whole shebang – unconscious for a long time, blood from his ear, long hospital stay with all the testing they could possibly do – the works. His parents were told he might not make it through the night. He indeed make it, without any side effects to boot. He is a medical marvel.

      Anyway, he wasn’t the first kid to fall off that climber and break something, but he was the first one who managed to break his head. The powers that be removed the climber, which was not popular, and to this day there are kids who remember that he was the one who got it taken away.

      Technically his parents could have sued the school for something or other, but they didn’t. They also protested the removal of the climber because his injury was a total fluke. Today’s parents would be suing the school board as soon as possible for, I don’t know, not having an air mattress all around the climber? Not having a person to stand there and catch people? Ugh.

    • Sharky

      What’s a climber? Like a jungle gym?

    • Karen Milton

      Sorry – maybe “climber” is a local word. It’s more like a big structure (they used to be wood, but now they’re plastic) with different levels and sometimes a playhouse to climb to. There’s often a jungle gym attached, as well as slides and fire poles, stuff like that. My husband was running looking backwards while trying to get to one of the fire poles when he fell off. Something like this, although 25 years ago when they were still wood they were often quite a bit larger:

      Edited to note: I do not own the rights to this photo and am using it solely as an example.

    • Sharky

      Wow, that thing looks like fun. I’ve seen them in parks but I didn’t know they had specific names, I guess.

    • Karen Milton

      I’m sure it’s got an official title – play structure, maybe? There’s one directly behind my house you’d think I’d know, but meh.

    • goofyjj

      Pam Oliver survived a ball to the face, i’m sure these snowflakes can

    • Rachel Sea

      I took a baseball to the nose when I was 7, which made it so that I can barely breathe from one nostril, and I still think kids should play catch. Teachers should be trained to look for signs of concussion for when kids get hit in the head, and we should take minor injuries as par for the course.

  • MA

    Welp, time to start throwing rocks then.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      YAY! Rock time!

  • TngldBlue

    When I was a kid I was a walking accident. I broke my ankle & wrist, shattered my elbow, blew out my knee…not to mention all the various scrapes and bruises. I wanted to climb higher, run faster, hit harder, and play better than any boy and dammit I did. Of course now that I’m old I had to stop running because my knee is shot and I know it’s going to rain when my elbow aches but the memories, oh the memories!

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I wanna print this out.

    • Paul White

      I’ve got a lower back that gives me grief and a bad left knee…and a not very good right knee…and a bad left shoulder….I’d do things a bit differently but I’d still take chances.

  • NYBondLady

    A post on this site I fully agree with! Oh, happy day.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Let it be written I was the one who wrote it, I would like a medall for this!

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    • Tea

      Damn it spambot, you’re ruining the moment.

    • meteor_echo

      Basically a single exception that still proves the rule.

  • Tea

    I spent my whole childhood trying to play sports despite having double vision and no depth perception. It was fun, damn it. Well worth two broken noses, a few dislocated thumbs, and six broken toes.

    Funny enough, mom put me in those to improve my hand-eye coordination.

    • goofyjj

      jesus! i was drinking coffee and then I read that last line and lost it!!!

      Hey I’m a klutz. I fell, got hit by balls, couldn’t catch – but i had FUN. It was hilarious and I learned the fundamentals. And we made up games as we went along – keep away and freeze ball tag. And none of us were fat, none of us were glued to electronics. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

  • AmazingE

    “If you can’t dodge a wrench, how are you gonna dodge a dodgeball?”

    • Bethany Ramos

      Hahaha

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  • Sara610

    You have got to be effin’ kidding me. Kids NEED to get hurt–that’s how they learn to do things like get back up, brush themselves off and maybe be a little more careful in the future.

    This gets the biggest *facepalm* *fail* of the day.

    • elle

      Thanks I knew there had to be more to this story I was just too lazy to look it up.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      see above madame!

  • Lyn

    I got hit square in the face with a football once and it didn’t do me any CABBAGES cabbages everywhere. Just a joke there, I was fine. Little bit sore for a day or two. I do hope this school will be enforcing a minimum distance between students at recess to ensure there’s no games of tag (a running child may trip you know) and also issuing full body bubble wrap as the students leave the classroom.

    • ABerg

      don’t joke like that….the aids at my sons school don’t let anyone run or touch anyone at recess. However, they are only on duty for 2 of the three recess breaks. Teachers watch them for one recess and tell them to run like the wind and chase to their hearts content:)

    • Janok Place

      Shhhh you’re giving them ideas!

  • Angela

    When I was a kid recess and gym classes were all staggered by grade, so there’s a good chance that recess can’t be held in the gym because another class is using it. Plus if recess was held in the gym then the kids could pretty much only play ball and I’m hoping there’s still other outdoor activities such as jungle gyms, hopscotch, and just plain playing outside with your friends. If the outdoor space is too crowded to really play sports then the ban may not be so unreasonable after all.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      It’s a middle school. Kids that age don’t usually do that kind of stuff, at least when their friends are around.

  • guest

    We used to play Florida ball! A particularly devious form of full contact gym basketball played with medicine balls. No one died, and we probably should have!

  • libraryofbird

    Ban all the things! I’m going to ban dining room chairs, I stubbed my toe on one this morning and FUCK it hurt.

    • Mikster

      My son tripped as a toddler on the bottom rung and broke his wrist. Ban them! ;-)

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      BAN THEM ALL

  • uaskigyrl

    You said “Hard balls”
    heh heh hehehehehehehehe

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I said it like eleventy times! hahaha

  • Jessieface

    We see stories like these more and more, and they make my blood boil and me shake my head. But I cannot help but wonder how much we are responsible for behavoirs and rules like this. I have to think that SOME of this has to do with a fear of being sued, I think a lot of decisions like this come from a place of fear. Quite honestly, as someone who has worked in summer camp and after school programs for years – I cannot be mad at that. MOST parents understand kids are kids, and kids get hurt and get in arguments. MOST parent. Unfortunately THOSE parents aren’t the loudest ones.

    • Sri

      I’m about 95% sure that that’s the reasoning behind this. There are a lot of kids in a smaller area than usual, and people were getting hurt. It’s only a matter of time before the wrong kid gets hurt. It’s ridiculous, but parents sue schools for ridiculous things surprisingly often.

      A few years ago, I knew a teacher who was being sued because she asked a student to rewrite his math homework because she couldn’t find the answers. When he refused, she asked him to circle the answers, at least. When he refused again, she gave him a 0%. The parents sued her. What were they suing over, anyway? What damages could that single 0% on 1 homework cause?

      A parent tried to come after me, saying that I was making up stories to get her son in trouble. He beat up another student in front of me, and I sent him to the office. The principal was so afraid of getting sued by the mother that she let him go. A few months later, he stole another student’s crutches and beat the tar out of him with them. After that, he picked up a textbook and threw it at a substitute’s head. He was never suspended or given a detention for any of it, because the principal knew that his mother would sue.

      I’m pretty sure that the school doesn’t hate fun. They just hate the idea of getting sued more than they like fun.

    • G.S.

      Huh, wonder what that mom’s gonna do when the parents of one of the kids her son viciously beats half to death decides to formally charge him with assault.

  • Karen Milton

    My son got hit in the face with a soccer ball at school, hard enough that you could still see the pattern of the ball on his face hours later. In my opinion you’d be hard pressed to find an eleven-year-old kid who could kick a soccer ball accurately enough to successfully hit a moving target, i.e. my poor clueless kid’s face, and obviously it was an accident. If they suggested banning balls I’d be the first in line to disagree, but oh man did he end up with a weirdly shaped black eye! It was a good lesson for my son – Walking vaguely through a soccer game could easily earn you a soccer ball to the face. It is the way of things.

  • TeacherofUrbanKids

    They probably can’t have recess in the gym because gym class is going on… just sayin’

    • Carrie Palmer

      Thank you! i grew up in Port Washington and went to Weber as a child. There were 300 kids in a grade when I was young and there are more kids now. That’s gotta be about 1,000 kids. 1) None of the gyms can legally hold the number of kids who’d be at recess and 2) there are gym classes in the gym because each of those 1,000 kids is required to take a 2-3 period/week gym course every year until graduation. This whole post is unresearched word vomit.

  • Emmali Lucia

    When I wasin high school I got hit on the pubic bone by a raquetball. If you’ve ever seen one of them they’re fairly hard and you basically hit them as hard as you can.

    It was not pleasant. I accused the girl of trying to break my lady bits. But after two minutes of me thanking my lucky stars I’m not a guy we went back to playing.

    Maybe they just made people tougher in those days…
    Lol

  • interestd

    You can’t hold recess in the gym because the gym teacher has classes to run at the same time. At least that’s how it works at our school.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      And, like…open recess isn’t usually done at middle school anyway (at least the one I work at or the ones I know about). It’s gym class. I’m kind of surprised they have a “recess.” Middle school kids at a “recess” are mean as shit, and it’s not surprising they would take away “hard balls.” You can still have a ton of fun with the nerf ones, they fly the best anyway. We had to ban footballs (not in gym) when teachers took kids outside on nice days because kids kept wanting to tackle, and then somebody broke a teacher’s window with one. To me, this article is not that surprising.

    • Karen Milton

      Our neighbourhood schools have a morning recess, lunch recess and afternoon recess (my son is at the Catholic school and my daughter is at the public school right next door). The schools themselves don’t have recess at the same time, but each school runs on the same theory. All the kids out there at the same time. Just get out, children, your teacher needs to have a bathroom break and probably a little cry because kids are terrible people. In theory the gym is free at that time, because no classes are being held, but cramming 500 kids into a middling sized gymnasium sounds like a far worse (and so very much louder) idea than kicking them outside for 15 minutes.

  • Becca

    Just a comment on your update – as a teacher, I’m thinking they probably can’t just recess in the gym because the gym is a classroom being used most of the time.

  • pixie

    Reading the comments makes it seem like I was one of the few people who had communal recess in elementary school, at a K-8 school. I think all of the schools in my hometown had communal recesses for the entire school, which sucked for the teachers having to watch several hundred students running around like idiots.
    Also, I got many balls to the face growing up. Soccer balls, volleyballs, dodge balls, basketballs, footballs, and rugby balls. I don’t know how I managed to not get a baseball or softball to the face, I probably purposely stayed away from those sports. I even remember getting the gym floor (which was made of hard rubber) to the face in grade five while playing dodgeball. I think I tripped over someone who dove in front of me to catch a ball and I failed to jump over them. Maybe we should ban hard gym floors and make them padded and covered in cashmere (so the kiddies don’t get rug burn).

  • Shelly Lloyd

    At the elementary school where I did my internship at had a “no ball” at recess rule. They said too many kids fought over the balls and threw them at each other.

  • Brad

    The radio show host Bubba the Love Sponge calls this part of the pussification of America.

  • SarahJesness

    My middle and high school had us use Nerf balls for dodgeball and I hated those stupid things. No velocity, they couldn’t go fast no matter how hard you threw, and it was too easy for the other person to catch the ball.

  • Justme

    Oh the irony of this article in regards to my week. My husband is a PE and basketball coach and I am a former PE and volleyball coach. In our eight years of knowing one another (and working at our respective jobs) we have spent countless hours in emergency rooms with each other due to ankle sprains and knee injuries incurred during our work day. But last week’s events took the cake. My husband was teaching 6th graders how to punt during their football unit, so he was the Lucy to the students’ Charlie Brown. All of a sudden he heard a “hey Coach, look out!” And what did he do? Looked straight up at the kid who was calling his name….and BOOM! A football thrown by a 6th grader hit him square between the eyes. It was his very own Marcia Brady moment. Luckily there is nothing broken but he does have a mild concussion.