Balls bounce back after Toronto school ban
Sports balls are making a rebound at an elementary school in the city's east end following parental outrage over a controversial all-out ban.
The decision to lift the temporary moratorium on soft sports equipment such as tennis balls, Nerf balls and basketballs came out of a parent-teacher meeting Monday night at Earl Beatty Public School.
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While a ban on hard balls had been in place at the school for more than a decade due to the small size of the schoolyard, staff only began to enforce the rule earlier this month.
An incident involving a parent who suffered a concussion earlier in the month after being struck in the head by a soccer ball triggered the ban.
Under the revised rules, softer balls will be permitted on school grounds during school hours.
Toronto District School Board trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher was astounded by the level of fuss the ban had caused, saying it seemed to make the "the earth tremble" and even made international news.
Safety a 'double-edged word'
"This is one of the biggest tempest in the teapot I've ever had the pleasure of working with," she said.
Among those who disputed the Code of Conduct that restricted sports balls was Chris Stateski, a parent of a student at the school.
"Safety is a double-edged word here, because safety to what extreme?" Stateski said.
Parents and teachers spoke on Monday about solutions for schoolyard safety, including staggering recess and lunch breaks.
Maureen Hall, a mother of a student at Earl Beatty, attended Monday's talks and said there were wide-ranging opinions on the topic.
"Listening to these conversations, there are some very extreme responses to this, so this is a first step," she said.
The challenge, according to school officials, was to create a playground that would be safe for all age groups, as some 350 children ranging from junior kindergarten to Grade 8 currently share the space.