boys

Are we raising the most coddled generation in American history? If you look at the latest rules to come out of a Long Island area middle school, you wonder if our cultural obsession with safety has entered the realm of psychosis.

How else do you explain a school that would ban footballs, baseballs and basically any kind of item that might encourage vigorous physical activity on campus?

CBS New York reports that Weber Middle School on Long Island has “instituted a ban on footballs, baseballs, lacrosse balls, or anything that might hurt someone on school grounds.”

What’s next? Are they going to house every student in a giant protective air bubble to prevent all chance of injury throughout the school day?

imagesBack in 2001, Hollywood made a movie called “Bubble Boy” about a young man born with a defective immune system. He had to live his entire life inside a bubble, avoiding all human contact for fear of falling fatally ill. His tightly wound mother did everything she could to keep him from contact with germs, obsessively shielding him from all contact with the outside world. It was an attempt to formulate a comedy around a tragic scenario.

I recall seeing the movie years ago, but I don’t recall it being particularly good. It starred a then relatively unknown Jake Gyllenhaal. It was a box office flop. Nevertheless, it successfully satirized the obsession with safety in modern American parenting–something becoming more evident every day as we read stories like those coming out of Weber middle school.

“Bubble Boy” was actually based on a heartbreaking true story of a Texas boy named David Vetter, who was born with severe immune deficiencies in the early 1970’s. He lived his entire life in a sterile plastic bubble before dying at age 12. Imagine what it would be like to live your entire life a prisoner of your own physical frailty. Never able to run and play outside like other boys, never able to scape up a knee on the baseball field–not really living so much as simply surviving.

Unfortunately, we are now at the point where perfectly healthy kids are being relegated to virtual “bubbles” by misguided parents and educators. A generation’s worth of lawsuit happy trial lawyers, and overbearing public safety bureaucrats have done their share also.

A parent’s urge to protect his or her child is natural. But being overprotective is a risk all its own. It means that children grow up unprepared to face the realities of what is at times a harsh and dangerous world. Legions of so-called “helicopter parents,” are doing their best to shield their kids from danger. But if they are raising wimps, who value security above all else, then what kind of nation will America become?

There’s a gender issue at the root of this story. Bans on rigorous physical play have a disproportionately negative effect on boys. While it can’t be good for young girls either, I fear that this trend toward safety obsession is also part of the overall feminization of our culture, where boys are told over and over that their natural bent toward rough play and risky physical activity is wrong and intolerable.

Sit still. Be quiet. Be careful.

I mean, you can’t even throw a baseball now without someone telling you it’s too dangerous anymore? If it’s wrong to throw a ball, that’s like saying it’s wrong to be a boy.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Like The College Fix on Facebook. / Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

(Image Sources: Soccer field by Derek_Jensen/wikimedia commons. “Bubble Boy” screenshot from Touchstone Pictures)

(Via: Drudge)

Haven’t you heard? There’s no such thing as male and female anymore. At least, not in the state of California. Not in the public schools there.

On Monday governor Jerry Brown signed a law that gives all students the right to use the restroom or locker room of their choice.

As Todd Starnes writes at FoxNews.com: “The new law gives students the right ‘to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities’ based on their self-perception and regardless of their birth gender.”

Do you feel like a girl today? You have a right to enter the girls’ locker room. It’s that simple.

Feeling more boyish? Go right ahead and try out those urinals girls! You don’t mind if the guys watch, do you?

In California, quite frankly, no one has a legal right to stop you if you want to watch students of the opposite sex undress at school. Liberals have finally succeeded in destroying all distinctions between male and female.

And that’s not all. This new law may even allow students to participate on sporting teams of the opposite sex. A boy who says he identifies as a girl could play on the girl’s basketball team, or could compete against girls rather than boys in track and field.

This is a prime example of liberalism attempting to ignore reality in a blind attempt to appease special interest groups on the extreme edge of the radical left. Those groups say divisions between boys and girls are discriminatory against transsexuals or transgender individuals. But they never once give a thought to the privacy of all the other students who now may be forced to undress next to someone of the opposite sex. Nor do they care about the obvious safety risks girls will face under such conditions.

If you are a parent with a child in California public schools, I pity you.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Like The College Fix on Facebook.  / Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

The New York Times reports that nearly 1 in 5 young boys in the U.S. has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Give me a break.

Anyone ever think that maybe boys, with their strong drive for physical activity, simply aren’t made for sitting around at a desk all day?

Two thirds of those diagnosed are on some kind of medication, such as Ritalin or Adderall.

Something’s wrong when we’re drugging 15% of the young males in this country. We should be thinking about redesigning the educational experience to accommodate young boys’ needs for more frequent physical activity, not sedating them with drugs so that they will sit in a drug-induced stupor throughout the long tedious (and often wasted hours) of a typical school day.

I’m sure these drugs benefit some kids. But, overall, the rush to diagnose millions of boys with a psychiatric disorder is a grave injustice in our culture.

Mind-altering medication should be a last resort. Far too many educators, doctors, and parents rush to give their kids medication for these so-called disorders, thinking they are doing good, when in fact what they are doing is stamping out the life of young boys, and trying to force them to fit into a sedentary classroom experience they simply aren’t built for.

These are powerful drugs, which sometimes come with serious side effects such as addiction and anxiety. They are used far too indiscriminately. It’s almost like we are using drugs to domesticate and feminize boys.

Young girls, on average, are better able to sit still and converse quietly for long periods of time. Primary education in America is tailor-made to fit young girls’ natural proclivities. Good for them. But let’s not try to fit all boys into that same box. Instead, why not look for ways to change the classroom experience in order to better accommodate boys’ style of learning and boys’ need for frequent physical activity?

Bottom Line: Doctors and parents need to stop medicating the life out of healthy and active young boys.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book, SEX & GOD AT YALE: porn, political correctness, and a good education gone bad.

Like The College Fix on Facebook. / Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

(Image by Werner100359 / Wikimedia Commons)

Inside Higher Ed reports on new research that seeks to explain why women, on average, are outperforming men academically:

The facts of women being more likely than men to go to college, perform better academically, and major in fields other than science, technology, engineering and mathematics are mostly attributable to factors affecting students before – in some cases, long before – they enter the halls of academe. But that doesn’t mean colleges can’t do anything to mitigate the consequences.

Those are the conclusions of the authors of a new book, The Rise of Women (Russell Sage Foundation), about how and why female students continue to outpace their male counterparts in education (yet still can’t seem to earn a comparable paycheck).

“We’ve seen astonishing change over a very short historical period,” Thomas DiPrete, the book’s co-author and a sociology professor at Columbia University, said on a call with reporters Wednesday.

Starting with the people born around 1950, the rate of men’s bachelor’s degree completion stopped growing, and it stayed stagnant for years. In 1970, 20 percent of men and 14 percent of women finished college. By 2010, women’s graduation rates had “skyrocketed” to 36 percent, DiPrete said, while the rate among men grew only seven points, to 27 percent.

Today, women outpace men in college enrollment by a ratio of 1.4 to 1.

Beginning as early as kindergarten, the authors explained, girls have better average social and behavioral skills than boys, and that relates to girls’ higher average grades at each stage of school and why girls are more likely to earn a degree.

“The grade gap isn’t about ability,” said Claudia Buchmann, co-author and sociology professor at Ohio State University, “it’s really more about effort and engagement in school…”

“We really need schools that set high expectations, that treat students as individuals – not just as gendered groups – and also motivate students to invest in their education so that they can reach the big returns of a college degree that exist in today’s labor market,” Buchmann said.

Read the full story here.

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