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Pinetree Makes a Stand

Thames has hit the headlines with this quote from today.

Waikato parents are being asked to sign codes of conduct before being allowed to attend their children's sports matches – something sporting legend Sir Colin "Pinetree" Meads has labelled ridiculous.

Sports officials said the move was to stop stroppy parents ruining children's fun but the former All Black from Te Kuiti said kids needed to learn it was part of life.

"I'd be against signing a code of conduct," Sir Colin said. "The next thing you know we'll be having to sign one to go and watch the rugby.

"It's bloody ridiculous." He said getting vocal on the sidelines and bad-mouthing the opposition was just part of sporting life. "There will always be the vocal ones that say 'kill the opposition' or something tragic – but that's part of growing up. In life you're going to have to mix with all sorts."

An irate parent gave the Waikato Times a copy of a code of conduct that parents of students at St Francis Primary School in Thames were recently asked to sign before being allowed on the sideline at their child's sports game. The form is understood to have been used in other Waikato schools. The parent felt offended at being asked to sign such a form and said it wouldn't stop bad behaviour by parents anyway.

Principal Vivienne Lander said it was not unusual to ask such a thing of parents. "I think it's just standard practice in schools so people know where they stand." No incident on the sidelines had prompted the move.

Sport and Recreation New Zealand spokesman John Reid said they had examples of a code of conduct that could be used by groups and clubs but they were not mandatory. "It's not about being politically correct at all – it's about not ruining the experience for children.

"There are far too many examples of children's sport being ruined by parents' poor behaviour – that ugly parrot mentality, yelling and screaming at kids on the field."

Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic netballer Irene van Dyk – who is also a school teacher – said codes of conduct were a necessary part of school sport these days. She said it was important to protect children from negative behaviour.

St Francis School obviously  trod on toes with its edict that parents sign 'the pledge' before being allowed on sidelines.

It's all a bit pathetic really - why on earth would Sir Colin lend his status to pursuing this piece of PC nonsense. One would have thought that he had better things to do than promoting shonky finance companies, and chasing rabbits like this down holes.

As for Irene Van Dyk finding it necessary to "protect children from negative behavior" - is she kidding?  Sport and Rec. spokespeople speak like that - another bloated government agency justifying its existence. Producing codes of conduct is par for the course, and grist for the mill.

Surely parents are capable of making up their own minds about this kind of activity. I really enjoyed that banter on the sidelines when I was parenting, and am sure my son did likewise, but I know there are sensitive souls out there who feel aggrieved when it goes over the top.

Banning and badgering are no substitute for a quiet word in the ear of perpetrators, but clearly Ms Lander thinks otherwise, even though she admits that no incident at her school has prompted the action.

I trust that Thames High will avoid following this lead. No pledges - just get on with education, thank you.




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