Monday, April 8, 2013

NASPE Position Statement on Dodgeball


Dodgeball Debate Rages Again
I guess because its spring or maybe because the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a blog post about it but either way the dodgeball debate is raging again.  I always defer to The  National Association of Sport and Physical Education's (NASPE) position statement on dodgeball which provides guidance to physical education teachers and schools in general.  But first, what brought this topic to the surface?


The San Francisco Chronicle blog spoke about the Windham, New Hampshire  School Board that voted 4-1 last week in favor the elimination of dodgeball from its schools.  A Board member said "students  will no longer be allowed to play dodgeball because of the Sandy Hook tragedy."

Windham School Board member Stephanie Wimmer said. “We need to take the violence out of our schools and not teach it.” The board voted 4-1 to ban “human target games” for kindergarten through 12th grade at all schools.   

The Board cited the NASPE position paper stating that children should not be "targets". 
  
According to NASPE  dodgeball is not an appropriate activity for K-12 school physical
education programs. The purpose of physical education is to provide students with:
1) The knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to be physically active for a lifetime. 2) A daily dose of physical activity for health benefits  and 3) Positive experiences so that kids want to be physically active outside of physical education class and throughout their lifetime.

According to NASPE:
Some kids may like it–the most skilled, the most confident. But many do not. Certainly not the student who gets hit hard in the stomach, head, or groin. And it is not appropriate to teach our children that you win by hurting others.
I don't think a child should be subjected to dodgeball. Perhaps its because I had a 4'9" grandmother or a very small (in stature) granddaughter that would blow away in a strong wind.   I don't think either should be subjected due to the possibility of injury.  Did I mention my granddaughter is 7 years old and weights about 40 lbs?  Tiny is the perfect descriptor.

If adults choose to participate in dodgeball tournaments then so be it.  But subjecting students seems cruel and unusual punishment for those who choose NOT to participate.

What are your thoughts? Go ahead. Toss one back at me.  (The written word that is.)