The pussification of schools #6

Cracked! missed one on their recent list of the 5 Biggest Pussifications of Schools, and while it’s probably not unique to this place the recent example comes from a school just south of Melbourne.

No touching.

Parents claim they were not told directly of the new rule, which extended a ban on contact sports …

Yes, they’d already gone that far, and that depressingly common policy is touched on in Cracked’s number four Biggest Pussification.

… to a ban on any physical contact at all, such as playing “tiggy”, hugging or giving each other high-fives.

Aside from the fact that this comes hot on the heels of a anti-bullying TV ad campaign that shows school kids shaking hands (for some bizarre reason it’s a weird handshake that’s not shown directly because it’s ‘just for kids’, but what can be seen looks less Masonic and more like the kind of gang style handshake done by wiggas) it’s pretty clear that this lame brained rule hasn’t been well thought out at all. Because it effectively bans simple expressions of friendship and support.

One parent, Tracey, said her son was winded on the playground yesterday and, when his friend tried to console him by putting his arm around his shoulder, the friend was told his actions were against the rules.

The friend then had to walk around with the teacher on playground duty for the rest of lunch as punishment, Tracey told radio 3AW.

And that’s not even the right-on silliness apex.

Another parent, John, said his children were told they could not high-five each other.

Seriously? Christ!

“I have a couple of children, and they have been told that if they high-five one another that’s instant detention, and if they do it three times they will be expelled,” John said.

“I mean, what are they actually trying to teach?”

One child was reportedly told that if students wanted to high-five, it would have to be an “air high-five”.

Yes, well, the problem there is that I suspect an air high five is not actually a real thing but some bollocks made up by someone on the school’s staff who’s heard of air kissing. What an ‘air high five’ really is is known as being left hanging.

Now it should be said that the school claims that this is only temporary…

Principal Judy Beckworth said it was “not actually a policy, it’s a practice that we’ve adopted in the short-term as a no-contact games week”.

… though having a no-contact games week doesn’t actually sound a hell of a lot more sensible to me, and especially not in a country that invented a football code so manly and tough that rugby players struggle and a competitor once found himself, and I’m not making this up, nailed to the pitch with his own leg bones. No contact games week? Pffffffft. Serious pussification of school right there.

“In response to an increased number of recent student injuries, including a broken collarbone, wrists and concussion, we decided to have a ‘no contact games week’ at our school,” Ms Beckworth said.

“Parents, teachers and I were concerned about the increasing number of students injuring themselves recently by playing roughly in the playground during games like chasey, tiggy, football and basketball.

“We are very serious about student safety and that’s why we decided to do this.”

And? Such is school life, though I spent years playing school rugby without ever knowing anyone to break a bone or get a concussion or in fact get anything worse than the odd bruise or cut. And I don’t mean anyone in my class or year, I mean anyone in the entire school while I was there. Maybe there was and I didn’t know that the kid two years below me that I didn’t even know by name was suddenly wearing a cast because of an unlucky tackle on the rugby field, but if so there was no mention made, no big hooha and no non-contact games rule even thought of, let alone imposed. I can’t help but wonder if the apparent rarity of injuries was just that we were getting better tuition and supervision on how to play contact sports without seriously risking ourselves or other players, and I also wonder if a high number of injuries – if it really is high – at Mount Martha Primary indicates that that’s not happening.

Not that everyone’s on message with that excuse anyway.

… one parent, Nicole, claimed that the school was backpedalling because some parents were told by the school that the new rule would be in place for a minimum of three weeks, which would be extended if the children did not behave themselves.

They’re kids, for heaven’s sake. It’s practically inevitable that one of them will forget or have a dummy spit and go too far and provide the excuse for the extension. In fact if you’re counting high fives, hand shakes and hugs then they probably already have.

[Ms Beckworth] did not believe the school’s response was an overreaction.

“When you have students badly injuring themselves, it would be unacceptable for me not to take action,” she said.

Oh, Jesus. Look, it’d be unacceptable for you to ignore it, but an event does not necessarily demand action. By all means recheck to assure yourselves that you’re already doing your best and take action if you realise that you’re not, but for Christ’s sake include a sanity check to make sure you’re not going too far. If kids are getting bollocked for putting their arms around a friend’s shoulders to comfort them then I’d suggest that second bit is being overlooked.

The only bits about this whole story that hasn’t gutshot my faith in humanity and set my misanthropy gauge spinning into self destruction again are the newspaper poll result that overwhelmingly showed that people thought the school had gone too far, and the admirable reaction of the children themselves.

The Year 6 students at Mount Martha Primary School were so disgusted by the new rule that they staged a sit-down protest on the school oval at lunch yesterday before they were moved to the school gym and given a dressing down…

I only hope that that spark of dissent in the face of unreasonable restrictions isn’t completely crushed out of them by the time they’re adults.

7 comments for “The pussification of schools #6

  1. June 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Utter leftist PC madness. No doubt our Greg would approve of it. 🙂 Julia doesn’t like the term Matriarchy but that’s what it is. Others prefer the term nannying but it comes to the same thing and it’s always been the divide in the family. The mother wants him in cotton wool so he can’t get hurt, the father says let him join the rough and tumble and learn to survive.

    We’re currently moving ever-closer to the Matriarchal nadir in society. The other nadir – Patriarchy – was in the late 30s. In between, there was a sort of sanity for a while, midway between the two extremes.

    And while we’re there, just in from Chuckles:

    Happy Father’s Day, Mom? Cards for Black Single Moms Raise Questions

    Just so’s no one’s offended, like.

    • June 19, 2012 at 9:53 am

      I don’t really buy the matriarchy label as most of the matriarchal women I’ve run into would be the sort to tell you to stop being such a bloody wuss and get back on your feet, possibly resorting to elastoplast and germolene for the bleeding stump of anyone who’s actually had a limb torn off. If I was to give this a label at all it would be something like ‘risk aversion caused by fear of modern tendency to litigiousness’. Frankly we could do with some more old fashioned matriarchal common sense in life.

      Where modern mothers, and really it’s not just the mothers, want to wrap their kids in cotton wool it’s partly because both parents are right on GROLIES types (FROLIES down here, I suppose) who recoil in horror at the thought of their darling offspring doing anything even slightly confrontational or competitive, and partly because of a not completely unwarranted fear that the ankle biter will be assumed to be abused and taken into care if some big nose medico sees him with so much as a faint bruise.

      Edited to add: it’s perhaps revealing that the poll result I mentioned which showed some 94% saying the school went too far was in The Age, so many of the 12,000 or so people who took part would also have been FROLIES. 😉

  2. Peter Whale
    June 19, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Oh come on Ozzies your the pussies for putting up with it just tell all the kids to high five everytime they meet and when they are all expelled the teachers can be sacked. Where is all that spirit that gave us body line bowling, bouncers and ball tampering? Your getting to be a load of woozies.

    • June 19, 2012 at 10:56 am

      That doesn’t translate well into Strine. The phrase you’re looking for is “Tuffenup, yer big buncha sooky la las.” It still gets said a lot.

  3. Voice of Reason
    June 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I played Rugby for a few years in grammar school (and was terrible, and hated it). I had my nose broken twice, and broke someone’s hand. I also saw a broken collar bone. My brother had his wrist and nose broken.

  4. June 20, 2012 at 4:34 am

    This school is to be applauded for training its pupils, sorry, Students about life in the real world.
    My city has one significant manufacturing company which makes things in a furnace.
    It employes the legally required number of first aid trained staff, some of whom are on shift at all times. But they are wasted because the Companys “No Touching” policy means all they can do is asses whether an accident victim needs a taxi or an ambulance to get them safely off the premises.

  5. Greg Tingey
    June 20, 2012 at 8:27 am

    James Higham.
    More bollocks.

    No I don’t approve.
    School spurts, sorry, sports, should be VOLUNTARY.
    You know how much I loathe the whole fascist, bullying, group-think ethos.
    There is ONE exception.
    Swimming should be taught – it is a vital survival skill.

    OTOH, the “no touching” rule is just plain daft …..
    I think what they mean is “No feeling up” – but that, as they say, is another story.

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