Pupil power

September 2nd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The ODT reports:

Who said school rules can’t be changed?

The Waikouaiti School board of trustees has thrown out one of its longstanding school rules after two of its pupils presented a convincing case to the board.

Tamati Sagar and Aaron Jones (both 10) love climbing trees, but the practice is banned for safety reasons.

The duo surveyed all the school’s parents and found about 90% of them were in favour of allowing their children to climb trees during break times.

The boys prepared a pie chart on their findings and presented it to the board of trustees and school staff.

Board members were so impressed they relaxed the school rule three weeks ago, and children are now enjoying the freedom to climb trees in the playground.

Great to see aspiring pollsters doing well!

But also great to see a little less applying at a school. Kids have accidents as part of having fun. The risk should not prevent them having fun.

I recall there was a little fort in a tree at Island Bay Primary School. One of the 4x2s fell off and landed on my head. It hurt and there was a fair bit of blood, but no one said we should ban tree forts. The answer was just to make them more secure!

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25 Responses to “Pupil power”

  1. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    I recall there was a little fort in a tree at Island Bay Primary School. One of the 4x2s fell off and landed on my head. It hurt and there was a fair bit of blood, but no one said we should ban tree forts.

    The existence of a childhood head injury goes a long way to explaining your political leanings. ;-)

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  2. Simon (723 comments) says:

    Of course they shouldn’t be allowed to climb trees. If little Thumbelina falls out of the tree and breaks a bone then the school suffers from a mountain of paperwork.

    Look at the shit the school has to deal with:

    http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/Schools/SchoolOperations/HealthAndSafety/WorksafeAtSchoolToolkits.aspx

    http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/Schools/SchoolOperations/HealthAndSafety/InjuryAndIncidentReporting.aspx

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  3. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    This is a tricky one.

    I was in favour of climbing trees as boy, and am still in favour of kids climbing trees now.

    OTOH, when she was 6, Mrs RRM had a little best friend who fell off the monkey bars at school, landed on her head, and the parents had to unplug her from life support later that night in hospital. Imagine being them.

    I wouldn’t want my little girl to be killed on unsafe play equipment at school, just so that someone else gets to feel like their BS flippant comments about FREEDOM ™ and POLITICAL CORRECTNESS ™ and WRAPPING KIDS UP IN COTTON WOOL ™ are being listened to.

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  4. Southern Raider (1,829 comments) says:

    Based on my childhood of playing in storm water drains and building tree huts up 20m pine trees I’m surprised I made it to adulthood.

    All part of growing up and learning to challenge yourself

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  5. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    RRM: this isn’t about kids being given unsafe equipment, just because of someone’s ideology.

    It’s about letting kids take risks that kids have survived for eons, so that, just like they have throughout history, they learn to assess risks the same as we did.

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  6. FeralScrote (217 comments) says:

    Lol Tom , getting smacked on the head makes you vote right ,getting dropped on your head makes you vote left.
    Makes perfect sense.
    Might make that the subject of a thesis ,now where do I go to get a govt grant?

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  7. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Lol Tom , getting smacked on the head makes you vote right ,getting dropped on your head makes you vote left.
    Makes perfect sense.

    Farrar did walk into that one.

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  8. Steve (North Shore) (4,561 comments) says:

    Lol Tom , getting smacked on the head makes you vote right ,getting dropped on your head makes you vote left.

    The fact that it hurt DPF made him vote right. If it did not hurt he would vote left

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  9. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    The corollary is that anyone who fell out of the tree landing on their head & then was beaten half to death with the jug cord to teach them not to fall out of trees votes for the NZ Conservatives.

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  10. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    The fact that Tom Jackson was never allowed to play in a tree fort explains his political leanings. And his miserable demeanor.

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  11. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Yuk, I hate pie charts. Just about every pie chart I’ve seen is misused.
    Anyway, good work boys (apart from the pie charts!)

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  12. David Garrett (7,272 comments) says:

    Nasska: Very droll sir…

    davidp: I believe Tom may have been joking…at least I hope so…

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  13. Gulag1917 (916 comments) says:

    nasska’s religious trauma manifesting itself in halftruths.

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  14. ross411 (838 comments) says:

    I used to climb trees at primary school several decades ago. No-one ever had accidents doing that. But someone did have one on the fort in the playground. Broke their arm, or died, or something. Can’t have been too traumatic as it wasn’t particularly memorable.

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  15. EAD (1,086 comments) says:

    Quick,

    The Labour/National party needs to pass a new law to prevent this. We mustn’t allow people to be independent and decide things for themselves!

    We also mustn’t let people to organise on their own behalf as they might show the Politicians that they don’t want smacking bans and gay marriage shoved down their throats.

    Much better to enslave a formerly free people to the ideas and control of the state. /sarc

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  16. ionmannz (6 comments) says:

    For many schools its not about children hurting themselves. Sure let them climb strong evergreen trees however many deciduous trees are quite brittle and will have branches easy snap off and leaves shredded. Schools try to maintain natural shade area with trees and these trees need looking after. We are not talking about the nostalgic memories of very small rural schools of 30 children with some climbing trees. Many primary schools are now 300 – 600 students. That number of children set loose on tree climbing will soon have a dust / mud pit around the base and a destroyed tree. A large strong bough will snap with enough children bending it down. Trees are often around the boundary of a school. Most neighbors won’t want the constant twigs and branches falling down and an array of children peering in.

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  17. johnwellingtonwells (137 comments) says:

    And at age 11, I was allowed to set off dynamite charges in my uncle’s coal mine on the West Coast. This taught me a lot about the process of doing safety checks – and then I had to go through it once more before I could fire the charge. This checking process has stayed with me all my life. Valuable lessons

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  18. Oliver Twist (110 comments) says:

    Remember, if people weren’t born they wouldn’t suffer … Tom Jackson or anything. :)

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  19. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    4 x 2’s falling on your head make you go bald.

    I know this because a 4 x 2 fell on my head when I was 27 and I’m only going bald now.

    And I’m 20 years older than DPF! :)

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  20. Chinarugby (87 comments) says:

    Good on the kids – get up those trees ya little buggas!

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  21. Tauhei Notts (1,712 comments) says:

    I broke my arm when I fell out of a tree in 1962. Back in the days when I was very skinny.
    At a barbeque, with a decent amount of merlot on board, I said I would retrieve that object from a tree.
    Bloody hell!. I can’t climb trees like used to be able to do.

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  22. Mobile Michael (451 comments) says:

    I fell off my bike and broke my arm – ban cycling! Not really, I just learnt about watching closely for objects that might clip a pedal and throw you off.

    Recently, I let my boys (7 & 5) take their scooters to look at some rabbits at a house about 200m away. I’m confident that they know about crossing roads and only had to cross two quiet ones, but I still had someone call and ask if I knew if they had “absconded”. The risk of accident was so low but the reward of independence is much greater.

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  23. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Now that! explains a lot Slim Dave. Me? … me Mum dropped me on my head.

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  24. Inthisdress (265 comments) says:

    Evidence suggests that if children are deprived of risky situations when young, they are less able to discriminate and judge teh dangers of risky situations when they are older. Therefore, if a child is never allowed to learn how it feels to fall out of a tree, when they reach teenage and get behind the wheel of a powerful car, encounter stupid peers, or potentially dangerous drugs, they are more likely to feel that they are invulnerable and more likely to get into potentially fatal situations.

    In my view, denying children the means to learn about and assess risk is a kind of child abuse whic may gratify the carer, but endangers the youngster. But then I feel the same way about teaching a child taht ‘no’ means ‘no’ and that one should try to be polite – not onl becasue I am ‘old-fashioned’ on the basis that one day it may save their life, and I want my kids to grow up confident, capable and assured ..

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  25. pb (1 comment) says:

    True story. Kid fell out of tree a few weeks after the rule changed. Helicoptered to Dunedin with a broken pelvis. All OK now. Original tree climbing freedom remains in place. Common sense concreted in.

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