Students demand balls back in petition

Nov. 17, 2011 at 3:03 PM
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TORONTO, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Students at a Toronto elementary school were circulating a petition Thursday demanding the principal lift a ban on balls in the playground.

Principal Alicia Fernandez of the kindergarten through grade 8 Earl Beatty School issued the ban on all types of balls except for soft sponge types Monday. It came two weeks after a mother picking up her child was hit on the back of the head by a soccer ball.

It wasn't immediately known why it took two weeks for the ban to be implemented.

At least 20 of the school's 350 students appeared Wednesday night before CTV News cameras chanting, "We want our balls back," as they waved a petition

Chris Stateski said her 6-year-old son Jacob was so upset about the ban he asked to change schools.

"It's not about safety," she told the National Post. "If it was about safety they would put pillows all over the schoolyard in case a child falls."

Critics of the ban say the children are less active without the customary throwing and chasing various sports balls.

Dr. Mark Tremblay, chief scientist at Healthy Active Living Kids Canada, told the Post schools were misdirecting the children about sports activities.

"It sends the wrong message that playing these unorganized games or even some form of reasonably organized sports is dangerous and generally speaking that's not true," he said. "The health benefits far exceed the risks associated with them."

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