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Why sixth-graders should be allowed to play school sports

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Kimberly Te, Manhasset

In many schools across America, sixth-graders are not allowed to participate on middle school sports teams. Reasons for this range from not having enough room on the teams to the fact that sixth-graders are still growing and could get hurt.

As a sixth-grader I would really like to be able to join these teams. The main reason is it provides exercise. We read all about the obesity rate, and this would help lower it. It is also a good way to stay busy. It keeps kids out of trouble when they have activities.

Also, sixth-graders are officially part of the middle school community, so they should have the same rights as the older kids, including joining sports teams. If coaches are that worried about us getting hurt while playing with the seventh- and eighth-graders, then they should make a separate team for just sixth-graders.

One reason I have heard that it won’t happen is because of money issues. Another reason is the school wants kids to be a little more mature before placing them in organized sports.

For now, if your school is one of the many that doesn’t offer a sports program for sixth-graders, you can get involved in fun programs like the Catholic Youth Organization and town teams. Someday in the future, I hope every school joins in and gives sixth-graders the rights they deserve: to play on sports teams!

Robyn Madden and Patricia Roberts’ sixth-grade class, Garden City Middle School

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