Stephanie Wimmer, a Windham, New Hampshire School Board member who voted recently to implement a district-wide ban on “human target games” (dodgeball), could have used innumerable examples to rationalize her decision, but instead chose to evoke a national tragedy: Sandy Hook.
“When I saw the names of some of these games, unfortunately guys, we live in a world where 20 babies were slaughtered,” Wimmer said. “We need to take the violence out of our schools and not teach it.”
As reported by the Windham Patch, the School Board, based on recommendations from a study conducted by local school officials and the “explicit” position of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), voted 4-1 “to remove dodgeball and other human target games from the K-12 Physical Education curriculum.”
The WSD study was initiated after a parent expressed concern over “the safety and bullying caused by human target games.”
According to the study:
“A Physical Education/Human Performance teacher from each school in the district joined to form a committee whose charge was to take an objective look at the role of human target games in each prospective building. Over the course of five weeks, each professional reviewed the scope and sequence of each game as it related to NASPE standards.”
Human Performance Teacher? Human Target Games? Evidently, the Windham School Board received an A+ in the “professional educator” doublespeak course.
As stated on its website, “NASPE believes that dodgeball is not an appropriate activity for K-12 school physical education programs” and that “being targeted because they are the ‘weaker’ players, and being hit by a hard-thrown ball, does not help kids to develop confidence.”
Meanwhile, the dodgeball debate has been a hot topic in the local community and according to the Windham Patch, not everyone in the town shares the same view point as the School Board and NASPE.
“If dodgeball is done right, it’s safe and well worth the activity,” said Windham High School Athletic Director Bill Raycraft.
One mother described the decision as “ridiculous.”
“This is dodgeball, it is American pie,” said lone School Board member holdout Dennis Senibaldi. Moreover, Senibaldi was not impressed with Vice-Chairman Wimmer’s comments.
“It was offensive to even put a tragedy like Sandy Hook in the same realm as dodgeball,” he told the Windham Patch. “They’re not even in the same universe. They are billions of miles apart. They are not even comparable.”
Given their track record, gun control advocates could have been expected to exploit Sandy Hook, but for an elected official to adopt a similar argument to justify, whether in part or in full, a decision to ban dodgeball reveals just how far certain individuals will go to advance their agenda.