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School bans common sports balls from playground

A school in the east end has temporarily banned its students from playing with many common sports balls while on the property.

Alicia Fernandez, principal of Earl Beatty Junior and Senior Public School, sent home a letter on Monday asking students not to bring soccer balls, footballs, volleyballs and tennis balls to school. Softer sponge balls are allowed.

She made the decision after a few people were hurt in just the past few weeks, including a mother who was treated in hospital for a concussion earlier this month.

“The concern stemmed from quite a few complaints she received from parents,” Toronto District School Board spokeswoman Anna Caputo told CityNews. “So there are quite a few parents that are in support of this, especially parents of the younger children … It was done as a preventative and proactive measure.”

Caputo says almost 350 students share a small schoolyard, and Fernandez is working to come up with a creative solution to prevent further injury.

Also, because there is a daycare on site, parents and toddlers must cross the yard.

Some who heard about the ban thought it excessive, and the students themselves have started a petition against it.

“This new rule about not bringing balls to school is a joke,” said CityNews viewer Dudley Stubbs.

“There was always a game that needed a ball to be played in the schoolyard … Maybe children shouldn’t play in the schoolyard at recess anymore.”

But Caputo says the parent-run school council supports the move.

“Safety trumps,” she said. “[Fernandez] hasn’t received any calls from parents complaining. The ones that she has received have been in support of her decision.”

Fernandez says the school will speak with parents and students to see if the ban can be lifted without jeopardizing safety.