I wouldn’t say that I’m the most athletic person there is, but growing up there was one activity during P.E. that I loved: Dodgeball. For anyone who doesn’t know Dodgeball is a game where you divide up into two teams one on each side of the court. Soft balls are placed in the middle of the court and once the whistle blows, each team has to run and grab as many balls as they can and throw them at the opposite team. If you get hit with a ball you’re out. If you catch the ball from someone, then the person who threw the ball is out. But the premise is that you have to dodge the ball. I used to love to play because I would often be one of the last kids left on the court. Kids get really into it, and can throw the ball aggressively, but everyone understands that Dodgeball is a game. Everyone except the Juvenile Court in Canton, Michigan.
10-year-old Bryce Lindley was charged last month with aggravated assault from a dodgeball game that he played in April. The victim in this case, whose name is being withheld by their parents, got hit in the ball in the face and due to underlying health issues, this led to a concussion and a black eye. Bryce received a 1-day suspension for this incident. Now the Juvenile Court says after examining the evidence there is enough proof to charge a 10-year-old with aggravated assault for an accident.
I’m sure that the fact that Bryce is a little black boy, and the unnamed victim is a little white boy had nothing to do with it. There is a phenomenon in our schools known as the racial discipline gap in which students of color are far more likely to be suspended or have their actions referred to law enforcement than white students. The phrase “kids will be kids” applies to everyone else except those of color. Once a child is given unnecessary disciplinary action they are labeled a “problem child”, and this label will follow them throughout their education. If legal action is taken, then it can potentially follow them throughout their lives.
While I am sorry that this young child was injured, his preexisting health condition should have excluded him from participating in Dodgeball. It honestly sounds like the school is trying to find someone to blame for their lack of monitoring and chose Bryce Lindley as the victim. His mother had created a fundraiser for his legal fees with a goal of $4,000 and as of this post they had exceeded the goal by $11,000.