Toronto school bans hard balls

Students at an east-end Toronto school are being told to leave their soccer balls and other hard balls at home.

Hard balls banned

12 years ago
Duration 2:02
Students at an east-end Toronto school are being told to leave their hard balls at home. Natalie Kalata reports.

Students at an east-end Toronto school are being told to leave their soccer balls — and other hard balls — at home.

The principal of Earl Beatty Public School banned the balls this week after a parent recently suffered a concussion from being hit in the head with a soccer ball.

The principal, Alicia Fernandez, banned hard balls, claiming they're dangerous.

"Kids were coming in complaining of injury, or being scared," she said.

The ban went into effect two weeks ago.

Students can bring sponge or other soft balls to play with, but soccer balls, footballs, baseballs and even tennis balls are not allowed for safety reasons.

But some parents say the ban is excessive and unfair to children who like to play outside.

A Toronto elementary school has taken the air out of some outdoor activities by banning hard balls in the schoolyard. (iStock)

"I wasn't surprised personally," said Diana Symonds who has a son going to the school. "My husband freaked right out. He thought, this is absolutely insane."

Chris Stateski, who has a son in Grade 2 and a daughter in Grade 4 at the school, said he was "disgusted" to hear about the ban, which he felt was an overreaction.

"A lot of things could happen. A child could trip on the asphalt, a child could fall off the monkey bars and break their arm," said Stateski, who also has a three-year-old.

"So many things could happen. What are they going to do — cover the schoolyard in pillows and take all the doors off the hinges?"

"It's just too much."

Stateski said Wednesday he felt bad for the woman who was hurt, but he doesn't feel the whole school should be penalized for one incident.

"Unfortunately, it was an accident and accidents do happen," he said, adding he doesn't think the playground is that small.

"I think they took this too far."


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Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten said she stands behind the principal's decision but thinks a balance should be found between keeping kids safe and letting them play.

"I get the idea of wanting to ensure that kids are safe. I also know that principals know the lay of the land at their schools," Broten said Wednesday.

"I feel confident that the right balance will be found and that we will see a community conversation happen with the principal, with the board and with parents at that school."

A spokeswoman with Toronto District School Board says the ban is a temporary measure and the principal will consult with parents and staff to find a solution.

Anna Caputo says the school — which has almost 350 students from junior kindergarten to Grade 8 as well as a daycare for younger children — has a very small yard and there have been other injuries.