The mother of a Michigan elementary schooler received a phone call from Wayne County Juvenile Court last week informing her that her 10-year-old son would be charged with aggravated assault for hitting a fellow classmate in the face with a dodgeball in late April.
Cameishi Lindley told ABC affiliate 7 Action News that her son, Bryce, and the other boy were merely “playing a game we all have played.”
Lindley said that she “couldn’t believe it” when she learned her son would be charged.
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“This is a kid that was playing on the playground with his friends,” she added.
According to Lindley, Bryce was suspended from school for one day. That’s where it should have ended, she said.
However, the mother of the other student, who requested that her identity be kept anonymous, told 7 Action News that she “tried not to let it get to this point.”
She said she was worried about her son’s safety because the April 29 incident wasn’t the first time he’d been targeted. On that day, she claims her son – who suffers from a condition which makes him particularly susceptible to injury – “sustained facial tissue damage” and was left with a bruised nose, black eye and concussion.
“My son was hit twice in the face with a ball previously due to this,” the other student’s mother told 7 Action News. “The child apologized to my son and my son said ‘mom it’s okay we’re still going to be friends.'”
Lindley said she was “unaware of those situations” but that she was sorry the other mother’s child was hurt.
“I’d be sorry for any child that got hurt,” she said.
Dodgeball and the “coddling” of American culture
In recent years, some schools have moved to restrict or remove dodgeball from schools, citing safety concerns.
Such developments are part of a worrying trend toward an overly fragile American society, some critics argue.
In an influential essay entitled, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” sociologists Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff criticized the societal trend, which they claim is especially prevalent on college campuses.
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“More than the last, it presumes an extraordinary fragility of the collegiate psyche, and therefore elevates the goal of protecting students from psychological harm. The ultimate aim, it seems, is to turn campuses into ‘safe spaces’ where young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some uncomfortable,” they argued.
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