Four Toronto teens have taken a stand against a decades-old law in Toronto, Canada that bans children from playing hockey on residential streets. They brought a petition with more than 125 signatures to City Hall a few weeks ago to request that the ban be lifted.
The boys have found an ally in Councilor Josh Matlow, who plans to bring a motion to a city council meeting that allows kids to play hockey in the street as long as their parents agree to assume liability for the risks involved.
However, Councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong supports keeping the ban in place, deferring to a report prepared by the transportation department that outlines the risks associating with repealing the ban. Minnan-Wong admits that 95 percent of children who play hockey in the street likely aren’t at risk, but he insists that “there has to be some way in which the 5% of the ones [children]... who do create a hazard to both themselves and motorists... where police can come out and make sure safety is enforced.”
Like so many bans created to limit risk and ensure the safety of our children, the street hockey ban focuses not on the vast majority of children who would actually benefit from the activity, but rather on the tiny fraction who might get hurt.
Join our online petition to encourage Minnan-Wong to support Matlow’s motion. Children need outdoor activities to support healthy lifestyles -- let their parents decide whether or not they can go out and play!
Photo by sssteve.o (cc).
In an era when children spend an average of nearly 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen, I ask that you seek to accommodate, not restrict, a child's right to play outdoors.
Like so many laws created to limit risk and ensure the safety of our children, the street hockey ban focuses not on the vast majority of children who would actually benefit from the activity, but rather on the tiny fraction who might get hurt. The result? We push our children indoors, sterilize their childhoods, and take away the challenges that help them grow and learn. In the end, we hurt all our children by living in fear of hurting a few.
Let's put aside paranoia in favor of common sense. Please do not continue to criminalize Toronto's children.