Free-Range Kids

Canadian School Bans Cartwheeling, Because We Can't Be Too Careful

Risks? What about the risk of never taking a risk?


Kyle Lee

Yes, a school in Canada banned cartwheels. What's worst about this is the school's reasoning:

Cartwheels have been banned at M.T. Davidson Public School in Callander.

Cartwheels are not permitted on school property in the playground rules section of the school's draft handbook for 2017-18. The rule came into effect this school year even though injuries have not been reported, principal Todd Gribbon admitted.

"The activity can cause concussions, and neck and wrist injuries," he said.

True—any activity, including a cartwheel, can cause injury. Walking down the stairs can cause falls resulting in concussions, neck, and wrist injuries. Walking outside can get you hit by a car. Swimmers can drown. Bakers can catch their hair on fire. Those brave enough to consume solid food can choke. Students sitting still too long can get embolisms.

The precautionary principle—why do something that could cause harm?—seems prudent until you realize it often doesn't distinguish between a calculated risk and what if something terrible happens? Recall that just the other day, a New York Times reporter said it was a bad idea for a kid to mow a lawn, even if it's the White House lawn, because there could be an accident. Really, we are idiots when it comes to risk. We think that there's risk vs. no risk—so why would any ever choose the former?

In the real world, it's always risk vs. other risk. The risk of walking to school seems too great to many people, who forget there's a risk in being driven. There's a risk in doing cartwheels that is offset by the risk of not doing cartwheels. Kids playing, loving the outside, running around, being active, learning balance—all aspects of cartwheeling—may heighten their risk of wrist injuries while lowering their risk of obesity, heart disease, and school-hating-syndrome. The risk of learning to take a risk decreases the crippling fear of risks. The crippling fear of risks (also known as "insurance brain") leads to faulty risk assessments.

Which leads to no carthwheels.

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  1. What’s the risk assessment for calling the Mounties on the recalcitrant cartwheeler?

    1. Trotting deaths have gone up every year of the 21st century.

    2. Nell gets tired of waiting for Dudley and runs off with Snidely Whiplash, who she secretly wanted anyway.

  2. Turn everyone into fat whiny babies afraid of their own shadow. One step from there to slavery.

    1. I suppose that might work. But is rather different from how slavery normally comes about.

      I remain optimistic that people can quickly revert from being fat whiny babies when pushed far enough. The problem is that far enough might be way too far to recover easily from.

      1. I think the movie Wall-E had the most accurate prediction of the future of mankind: a bunch of fatties floating around on hoverchairs, talking about inanities.

        1. While I am on here talking about inanities, where can I get my hoverchair repaired?

  3. True?any activity, including a cartwheel, can cause injury.


    1. Robby would never risk his coif by doing a cartwheel. To even suggest such a thing is sacrilege.

  4. This is the same mentality that claims healthcare is human right (despite no system really treating it that way, and no system possibly can). It is the fiction tbst nothing bad can be allowed to happen.

  5. Safe School Advisory Committee??
    Playground SECTION???
    14 pages??
    No parental feedback?? (Well, of course, when I think about it)
    Well, Canada.

  6. Weeeeeeeeee…

    All fun is banned until further notice.

  7. The risk of learning to take a risk decreases the crippling fear of risks. The crippling fear of risks (also known as “insurance brain”) leads to faulty risk assessments.

    Add in some textbook sociopathic behavior, and you just described my last boss.

  8. If I saw my kid cartwheeling I’d beat there ass too. Tell them to get back inside, acting like damn fools who don’t know how many kick ass video games there are to play.

    1. If it’s not already apparent, I’m going to out myself as an old stick-in-the-mud curmudgeon who just won’t get with it.

      I hate fucking video games and I hate that kids spend so much time with that shit. Especially younger ones. Kids need to be out hitting each other with sticks, injuring themselves doing cartwheels, shitting in the woods and lighting stuff on fire.

      1. Frankly, that’s stupid.

        Try reading Reality is Broken if you care to learn why.

        1. I’m not claiming it’s a universal truth. That’s just how I like things. I’m the last person in the world without a smart phone because I hate the way people go around constantly looking at the damn things (and failing to type coherently when posting things online). I’ve also never sent a text message. I do own a Supernintendo, but I don’t think it works anymore.

          1. The main reason I have a smart phone is so I can post comments on Reason while I am on the toilet.

      2. As a libertarian I respect your right to raise your kids. I just know that mine will not be allowed outside until they have as obsessive a knowledge of video games from approximately 1985 to 2004 that I do.

      3. Then you’re really going to be pissed with this.

        Next school year our local university will have a varsity eGaming team.

        Yes, eGaming is officially a thing, with inter-school leagues, state championships, paid college coaches, and letter sweaters. Pretty soon collegiate eGaming will be a career field.

        1. That’s eGreat.

      4. …shitting in the woods, lighting stuff on fire: my childhood. Really.

      5. I hate fucking video games

        So would I. Where’ve you been trying to stick your penis, a USB port?

  9. Shorter Canada: Wrap the kids in Bubble Wrap until they’re 21

    Hey: to quote Al Pacino in “Heat”: “You can get killed walking your doggie”

    My 5-year-old grandson has been in gymnastics since he was 3. First Olympic-style, and for the past several months “American Ninja Warrior” style. They run, jump, flip, hurdle obstacles. When he scores a goal in soccer he does a cartwheel. I’m not taking any of that away from him.

    Kids need to be kids; adults need to supervise, but that does not mean chasing after them squawking like a bunch of paranoid chickens.

    1. Even though in all other ways I will never allow my kids to do anything other than play video games and jerk off. I do know that I will force them to all have a wood burning kit as young kids so that they can experience burning the shit out or yourself repeatedly, just as I did.

  10. Jeez that girl is cartwheeling in flip flops the photo must have been taken seconds before her death.

    1. Look into the pictures cold, dead eyes. She’s already dead.

  11. The sense I get from my far Left proggie Canadian friends, is that the far Left proggies are getting tired of this brand of nannyism. There might actually be a crack-up on the Left between the progressive justice warriors and the liberal micromanagers-of-other-peoples-lives. I hope it’s a painful divorce.

  12. Canada – it’s not America.

    Well, good enough reason for me not to move there.

  13. Canada – it’s not America.

    Well, good enough reason for me not to move there.

  14. I’m no online news magazine editor but don’t you think the focus of a libertarian magazine should be on the fact that there’s some madman at the UN threatening the world with nuclear war in lieu of articles about cartwheeling. I know your stich is all about capturing articles about that craaaazy government, but don’t ya think, Lenore, there are bigger fish to fry so to speak?

    1. Yes, nobody should ever consider anything other than the most important issue. And only that one issue you deem most important.

      Congratulations, you have attained the perfection of libertarianism…. to scoff at all others, proclaiming no true scottsman exists!

    2. Well, Roach P, I suppose we could all be regaled with your comments about communism no being all that bad; you know, the “100 million lie” etc. That seems to be your schtick.

      Did you check out the comments like I suggested? I’m sure you’d fit right in with that crowd.

  15. cartwheeling need a little care.but in my view, it should not be baned. for support and help related to yahoo Yahoo customer service

  16. I’m becoming increasingly understanding of young kids who can’t do a damned thing themselves because too many parents won’t let them.

    Hell, I have to walk my kids everywhere, not because I don’t trust them, but there are enough officious busybodies to make it unwise for me to do so.

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