11 year old Anna does a cartwheel
11 year old Anna does a cartwheel Warren Lynam

Cartwheel taboo: Principal sheds light on ban

PEREGIAN Springs State School principal Gwen Sands has written to parents explaining why the school had decided to restrict handstands and cartwheels.

In a letter sent late on Monday night, Ms Sands said several children had suffered "some severe injuries as a result of doing cheerleading type stunts, including handstands and cartwheels, in the playground".

An Education Queensland spokesman said one child had broken a wrist and another "had been kicked in the head".

Ms Sands' decision, revealed in yesterday's Daily, has prompted an outcry across the nation.

RELATED: Too dangerous? Cartwheels banned at Coast school

The school's latest newsletter said under no circumstances were students to perform cartwheels, handstands or any other type of gymnastic move at school unless they were properly supervised by a trained PE teacher.

Local Government Minister David Crisafulli weighed into the debate yesterday.

Deputy Principal Sandy Cathcart published this message on the ban in a recent school newsletter.
Deputy Principal Sandy Cathcart published this message on the ban in a recent school newsletter. Contributed

"When are we going to let kids just be kids?" he asked.

"I respect the right of the school to protect their students but I also respect the right of children to have a happy childhood, and surely we can find a middle ground in all of this."

Ms Sands told parents that when injuries occurred, "parents, the general public and the Department expect us to implement measures to mitigate the chances of it occurring again".

"We have 820 students in our playground. There is also much concrete, corners and brick walls to negotiate.

"When children are doing complex activities such as gymnastics and the type of manoeuvres required in cheerleading, they need to be supervised - both for their own safety and for the safety of other children in the playground.

"Further to this, the Department's Policy and Procedures Manual requires trained personnel and gym mats be available when students are participating in activities requiring inverted positions. This includes cartwheels and handstands."

The story prompted many comments on the Daily's Facebook page, mostly opposing the rule.


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