Human-target games back

Human-target games back

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Human-target games back


Three months after banning human target activities (think Dodgeball) from its physical education curriculum, a New Hampshire school district came to its senses this week.

In its report to the Windham School Board on Tuesday, a committee tasked with reviewing the findings that led to the controversial ban recommended that “the inclusion of the games suggested in the initial review be implemented as deemed appropriate by the professional staff.” You can read all 14-pages of the committee’s report here.


These are the heroes who helped return human-target activities to New Hampshire schools.

The original decision, which was an effort to prevent bullying, sparked dissent. The Windham Eagle-Tribune reported that more than 400 students signed petitions opposing the ban. Dennis Senibaldi, the only school board member to vote against the ban in March, was happy with the new recommendation. He noted that human-target games, which feature the use of foam balls, don’t pose an inherent risk to students’ well-being.

“I don’t think Roger Clemens could hit me squarely between the eyes with the ball and make me blink,” Senibaldi told the Eagle-Tribune. “This was all about kids being bullied. If kids are being bullied, it’s the teacher’s job to step in and rectify it. Don’t eliminate an entire class of games. Getting rid of the games wasn’t the way to handle the problem, if there was a problem.”

In addition to overturning the ban on human-target activities, the report also recommends that human-target games feature a differentiated activity. Students who don’t want to throw balls at classmates (or have classmates throw balls at them) may opt to throw at stationary targets or head to the cardio room. Bryan Toporek notes in his Schooled in Sports blog that the board also agreed to change the names of some of the more violent-sounding games.

For instance, PRISONBALL is now Rescue Me! SLAUGHTER has become Numero Uno.

As for Dodgeball, well, that’s not exactly covered in the report.

The game of “Dodgeball,” as originally designed, was not part of the Windham School District Physical Education Curriculum. Therefore, it is not recommended by this committee nor was ever part of the initial study conducted. Though the games maintain components of “Dodgeball,” they have been modified to ensure the safety of all learners while meeting physical education standards.

Thanks to Education Week for bringing this story to our attention.


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