A few years ago I wrote an article on the practice of “NUDE” swimming in the public schools. That was in the 1960’s and farther back. It was an eye opener for many of my readers. Today I will touch on a school law that provides our public schools to teach “BOXING” and what a joy it was for me to do that when I was a teacher in the 1970’s in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma State Department of Education 2017 School Law Book (also called the Green Book):
Section 1180. Boxing in Physical Training or Education Authorized.
The governing board of each state educational institution and of each school district in the State of Oklahoma is here by authorized to provide as part of any physical training or educational program the art, technique and practice of boxing. (70-821.51
As a new 5th grade teacher in the Oklahoma City Public Schools in 1974, I asked my Principal, Mr. James Daniels, if I could buy some boxing gloves with school funds so I could allow my students box each other. I wanted to teach them the pugilistic sport and give them a new experience.
Mr. Daniels replied “never thought you would ask,” and he went to the school supply room and pulled out of a box four sets of gloves, brand new and never used. Now these gloves were the biggest gloves I had ever seen, even though they would fit the hands of a 5th grade student. Mr. Daniels said “have with it and enjoy, the kids will love the experience.”
I had some experience with boxing getting to box in PE class at Classen Junior/Senior High, also in the city schools in the 1960’s. I personally loved the sport but I became aware that I would not make a fighter as I had lost my temper in my second and last unofficial fight at school. My opponent used that temper to drop a left hook on my right cheek and I did not like that. So much for being a boxer. My European German nose would not take a smashing. I found out you cannot be a boxer if you cannot take a punch to the face and not get mad. I got mad and that was that with boxing.
Back to my 5th grade kids at Green Pastures School. I made some rules and there would be no exceptions to these edicts. Rule one was that if you wanted to box someone, that person you boxed had to be a friend. I would not have boxing between those that were in conflict with. Second, I did not allow boys to box girls. As many of my girls at my fully integrated school were larger and stronger/meaner than my boys, I could not allow a young man to let a girl get the best of him.
Now do not get me wrong. No child was going beat up another child in a “friendly.” My “fights” existed of three one minute rounds with a minute rest; and any intentional head shots were not allowed. You could box to the body but I did not need any child knocked out or even come close to getting some sort of brain contusion. Yes, accidents happened but that was rare. The gloves were like pillows and a punch to the head could not cause any serious injury. But I was not taking any chances…..no hitting above the neck.
Anyone that wanted to box had to get a permission slip signed by the parent and delivered to me before they could box a match. But all students that wanted to participate in the boxing class could without permission as of boxing being a part of the curriculum of the state of Oklahoma.
I had as much a blast watching the kids go at it for three minutes as the kids did participating and those that viewed as spectators.
We had a ring announcer for the boxing exhibitions (fights) and put mats down on the floor of the classroom we conducted the procedure. Each boxer had a second, for encouragement. We had fight day on Friday, and the matches were determined a week in advance. Only school kids and one other teacher were present for the “fights” and each Friday for about two months were averaged a five match card.
Two things came from the boxing. The total amount of strenuous exercise exerted in three minutes of boxing wore the kids out. The one minute of rest did not help much. Second, there was never an injury or a cut. One of the safest things we did in PE on an elementary level.
And the kids loved it completely. The girls as much as the boys were as much warriors in boxing at this age. And the “boxers” of the 5th grade told me how much they loved putting the gloves on.