Six of the best laps

The Dominion Post 24 November 2007
A Porirua primary school is running rings around political correctness by making naughty pupils do physical education as punishment. But Rangikura School is under fire for eschewing new age time-outs, stand-downs and restorative justice sessions – in favour of old-fashioned jogging around the sports field to burn off excess energy. Parent Andrew Scott said his son Jacob, 8, was made to run around the field as punishment for being caught playing tackle rugby. He was concerned such a penalty risked discouraging children from being active. “I have no problem with them being punished, but maybe using physical exercise is not the right sort of punishment.” It could have the wrong effect on kid’s motivation to do sport, he said. Jacob’s mum Alison thought the school should dish out punishments no one enjoyed – such as picking up rubbish. The family’s concern is shared by government agency Sport and Recreation, which is tasked with encouraging Kiwis to get fit. A Sparc spokesman said physical activity should not be used to punish: “The aim of Active Schools [a Sparc initiative] is that children will choose and enjoy physical activity.” Using exercise to punish children could deter them from enjoying it, he said.