Life is a risk

somersault.jpgAs a parent you like to know that your children are doing their best at school.

What you don’t want to hear is that your child has done something that may get them suspended. So imagine how a Townsville mum felt recently when she found that her daughter was in danger of suspension … for doing a cartwheel in the playground during recess.

According to this story from, Belgian Gardens State School in Queensland, Australia, has banned all forms of gymnastics during breaks, including handstands and somersaults.

Kylie Buschgens was surprised to find that her 10 year old daughter, Cali, had been busted and punished for doing something that most of us would consider healthy.

Apparently two teachers took Cali upstairs and forced her to sit down for the rest of the day and not do anything. Principal Glenn Dickson said gymnastics activities were a “medium risk level 2” that posed a danger to children.

Glenn, let me enlighten you. Crossing the road is a risky activity but we can’t stay on one side of the road for the rest of our lives. Life is all about weighing up the risks and benefits of various activities. Yes, there is a risk that children will hurt themselves during physical activity but there’s an even greater risk that these children you’re trying to protect will die of heart disease in later life if you manage to teach them, through your policies, that physical activity is not worth the risk.

I suppose the question is who is being protected here. Is the school trying to protect the children from harm or are they more interested in saving themselves from any possible damages claim?

And we wonder why Australia has a problem with childhood obesity.

Of course it’s not just an Australian problem.

There was a similar case in the USA in 2004 when an 11 year old girl received a one week suspension for repeatedly refusing to stop cartwheeling on her playground at San Jose-Edison Academy.

Do you think we avoid too much risk? Are we playing it too safe with our children? Have you seen a change in the behaviours that parents or schools allow for their children? Are we creating more problems than we are solving?

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