Is it an extreme case of helicopter parenting or a smart move to keep kids safe?
That's what parents are asking after hearing about a Long Island middle school's decision to ban most balls during recess and also require supervision of tag, even cartwheels, due to safety concerns.
No longer allowed at the Weber Middle School in Port Washington, New York: footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, lacrosse balls and any other hardballs that could injure a child. Also off limits: rough games of tag and cartwheels unless an adult supervisor is on hand.
"We want to make sure our children have fun but are also protected," Dr. Kathleen Maloney, superintendent of Port Washington Schools, said in a local television interview, noting how playground injuries can "unintentionally" become very serious.
The school district, in a press release, said that due to construction going on at the school, there is "limited space" for the children to play during their 20-minute recess period. "With children in close proximity to each other, it is not safe for them to be engaged in unstructured play with hardballs," said the district.
It's not clear when the construction project will come to an end at the school and if kids will be able to resume normal ball-playing after it wraps up. A call to the superintendent's office for confirmation has not yet been returned.
Soft nerf balls will be provided during recess, and kids can play with hardballs during gym and intramural athletics.