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Proposed cartwheel ban at North Bay has some parents flipping out

'There's potential for a concussion, wrist or neck injuries when students are performing these acts without proper supervision,' said Todd Gribbon, principal M T Davidson Public School

NORTH BAY - Students at  M T Davidson Public School in Callander are being discouraged from doing cartwheels in the playground until administration and parents meet to discuss whether an all out ban on the gymnastics move will go into effect.  

School Principal Todd Gribbon says, "For me I'm always concerned about student safety. We want to make the school as safe a place as possible. There's potential for a concussion, wrist or neck injuries when students are performing these acts without proper supervision. So that's what the thinking was around the cartwheel (ban)."

This is his second year at the school. Gribbon says to his knowledge, there were no reports of cartwheel related injuries at M T Davidson last year. 

"We've had other injuries like sprains and so forth, falling as students were running, things like that. I know there was an injury last year at a school in the board, someone was performing cartwheels and damaged their leg pretty severely."

Ashley Thivierge has a child who attends the school.   

"I think it's ridiculous. They should be able to do cartwheels. I don't see any harm in it, they're not hurting themselves. It's part of physical activity." 

As a grandmother, Pat Scheuneman wants children to be active and have fun, saying it's possible to do both safely.

"I think it's a bit over protective. Kids are going to do what they want to do, They have to be able to be kids. If they're doing it on the grass, they're not really going to get hurt.too much, but if they're doing it inside on the floor, they're bound to get hurt if they don't know what they're doing. There's a place for it but it's a little bit strict I think. We grew up doing it in school," said Pat Scheuneman.   

One parent who doesn't see the harm in letting children do cartwheels at school, says there's nothing to stop them from doing them elsewhere.  

"Personally at home, we let our kids climb up huge rocks and across logs and every once in awhile our daughter gets hurt but we don't stop her from doing those fun things because we're not comfortable with her maybe getting hurt. Getting hurt is part of the learning process. When I was growing up we did all sorts of things like that, that's how we played," said Trista Miller.

"The rules are in place. I'm not going to fight it. Kids also have to learn about following the rules. There are places where she can go and play like that without coming here. If they don't feel comfortable enough allowing things like cartwheels to happen, I'm okay with that, because we do it at home." 

Gribbon says the recommendation has yet to be formalized. 

"There are some guidelines out there from other schools that have more specific rules like not hanging upside down on monkey bars, or making back flips or other gymnastics moves. That would be probably a broader statement, no gymnastic moves," says Gibbon. "This is up for consultation. We will be reviewing it again with staff on October 2nd and I have a meeting on October 3rd with our parent council and also the safe schools committee. It's a consultation process, it's not etched in stone."

However should a ban be approved, it will be written into the school handbook.

"It's about being proactive and understanding that there are circumstances out there that we can perhaps help students return home in a safe way," said Gribbon.

"I know it's an emotional response. We're always willing to talk and listen to people and the idea that kids will be kids is important to me as well, but we also want them to be safe."