How The Playground Can Teach Social Skills and
James H Burns MA, DHL
School Dodge ball Ban: New Hampshire District Stops 'Human Target' Sports, Citing Bullying.
Students attending Windham schools in New Hampshire won't be dodging balls during gym
class anymore. The school district voted to ban dodgeball and other "human target" sports in a
recent 4-1 decision, according to multiple sources.
"We spend a lot of time making sure our kids are violence free," Windham Superintendent Henry
LaBranche told the Eagle-Tribune. "Here we have games where we use children as targets. That
seems to be counter to what we are trying to accomplish with our anti-bullying campaign."
As adults we spend a great deal of time to ensure the safety of our children and of course take all
the steps necessary to help them cope and deal with the bullying behavior in schools, and in their
community. But let's take a look at what is really happening here, and why we have to help our
children develop greater resiliency and learn how to compete and develop stronger pro social
skills through something that I call play ground politics.
As a young boy on any given summer day I would leave my house early in the morning with a
bat, a ball and a glove and would play baseball until the sun went down. No supervision, just a
gang of guys playing ball together. We had a couple of bucks in our pocket, for a soda and a hot
dog, took breaks, welcomed other kids who wanted to play, worked on our skills, set up our own
rules, and in general had a great time. Did we all get along? Of course not. Were there bullies
amongst us? You bet. Did we experience at times some fear and intimidation because of these
bullies? We did. But, everyone stayed and played, we solved our own problems, we learned how
to get along, and discovered a healthy pecking order on the field. What we learned on that field
were lessons that