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Dodging the Real Issues

Most people across the socio-economic spectrum agree that public education is in a shambles. The nature of the problems are starkly clear — e.g., the proliferation of guns and drugs on campus and plummeting test scores — while the possible solutions are hotly debated: metal-detectors at school entrances, dogs sniffing student lockers, raising teachers’ salaries, implementing voucher programs, etc.

But thanks to the vigilance of public school administrators in Cecil and Montgomery Counties, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia, we can now drop all the rancor and focus our collective energy on defeating a menace that has plagued public education for generations…dodge ball. That’s right, dodge ball has been targeted for extinction in these counties, soon to join other historical aberrations in public schools across the nation such as school prayer, cuss-free classrooms, Shakespeare, and corporal punishment.

Remember dodge ball? It’s a game in which two teams throw balls at each other, and the players who get hit by a ball are “out” and must sit out the remainder of the game. Kids love it. So, what’s the problem?

Says Mary Etta Reedy, Cecil County’s director of educational services, quoted in a news story in The Washington Times National Weekly Edition (Dec. 11-17, 2000): “We don’t want any kind of game that is exclusionary.” Paul Regnier, spokesman for Fairfax County schools, is quoted as saying, “a game in which students are a target for a ball is not an appropriate game.” These bureaucrats are part of a growing effort to ban dodge ball. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education, an educational consulting outfit, has inducted dodge ball to its “Physical Education Hall of Shame,” along with other old-time favorites such as Duck, Duck, Goose and kickball.

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