Dodgeball Removed From Windham, NH Schools

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV

WINDHAM, N.H. (CBS) – Dodgeball has been bounced in Windham.

The classic gym class game has been a rite of passage for years, but dodgeball may have met its match in the form of the Windham School board, which at a recent meeting voted 4-1 to end dodgeball and other so-called “human target” activities, games with names like bombardment and slaughter.

“It’s almost turning into a nanny state,” said school board member Dennis Senibaldi, the one school board member who voted against the ban. “What happens when they replace that game with something different that another group doesn’t want to play, do we eliminate that group of games?”

The school district tells WBZ-TV a handful of parents had complained about bullying–that their kids were targeted during dodgeball–the district then studied the issue, and a special committee recommended the games be ended.

“I think they’re really fun because they’re just soft balls so it doesn’t hurt if it hits you,” said sixth-grade student Lindsey Stagg.

Stephanie Wimmer, the school board’s vice chair, tells WBZ-TV the board is always “looking at our curriculum” for changes.

Parents outside Windham schools today had mixed thoughts.

“There’s a lot of organized games that they could be playing that don’t entail trying to physically hurt the other person, so I have no problem with them banning it,” said parent Michelle Allard.

Gina Lanouette, another Windham parent, says the bullying aspect is a sign of the times.

“You can see how most kids would enjoy it but you can see how some children are targeted more than others,” said Lanouette.

Windham’s Superintendent, Dr. Henry LaBranche, tells WBZ-TV the school district is trying to teach students to respect one another, and the games “create conditions inconsistent with that message”.


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