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N.H. school board reconsiders ban on dodgeball

400 sign petition in Windham

WINDHAM, N.H. — Dodgeball seems to be making a comeback at the school district in Windham, N.H.

A study committee is recommending the School Committee permit dodgeball-style, ‘‘human target’’ games in the physical education curriculum, while insisting that safety be a priority.

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The School Board was scheduled to consider the issue Tuesday night. The board had banned such games this spring because of concerns about bullying and student safety. The Eagle-Tribune reported that more than 400 students signed petitions opposing the decision.

The panel was created to take another look at the situation. It noted that dodgeball, as originally designed, was not part of the curriculum.

Dodgeball and similar games maintain components of dodgeball, but have been modified to ensure the safety of students while meeting physical education standards, the panel said.

The recommendation pleased Dennis Senibaldi, the only member of the School Board to oppose a ban on the games in March. One of his sons served on the study panel and led a student petition drive to preserve the games, which use a foam ball and require players to aim for the body, below the head, to avoid injury.

‘‘I don’t think Roger Clemens could hit me squarely between the eyes with the ball and make me blink,’’ Dennis Senibaldi said. ‘‘This was all about kids being bullied. If kids are being bullied, it’s the teacher’s job to step in and rectify it. Don’t eliminate an entire class of games.’’

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