Selection in volleyball at school: parents denounce that we measure the length of the arms

Parents denounce the selection process surrounding admission to a sports program at a public high school in Quebec, which began with taking measurements of the waist and arms of sixth-grade girls.

This year, about thirty students applied to be admitted to the volleyball concentration at Jean-de-Brébeuf high school, when there are only 15 places available.

Parents were however “shocked” by the way the selection activity took place a few weeks ago in this school in the Limoilou district.

Program officials began by measuring each young girl’s height, from head to toe, before measuring the height of their arm when raised, the Journal was told. The young girls then had to chain different physical exercises.

This measurement “is only used for statistical purposes”, according to the school service center of the Capital, but parents were instead told by the coaches on site that the size occupied an important place in the selection process. .

“It really hit us in our values,” said the mother of a young girl, who requested anonymity since the selection process is still underway.

The latter wanted to enroll her daughter in this concentration to motivate her to go to school, and not to make her practice a discipline at a competitive level, she explains.

“I thought that the objective of programs specific to the public was to allow students to succeed by seeking their interest in order to keep them in school”, she drops.

This experience had just the opposite effect on her daughter, who came out of the selection activity in tears. Being rather small for her age, the student began researching the internet to find out what foods she should eat to grow taller faster, hoping to experience a growth spurt that could benefit her in the second round of selection scheduled for this winter. , says his mother.

For its part, the Capital Services Center maintains that there are no “minimum measurements” or specific requirements to be accepted into this program.

“The tests are only used to plan the team and to assign future positions in the composition of it,” said one of its spokespersons, Manon Jomphe, in an emailed response.

“Why do it then?” retorts Nicolas Prévost, president of the Quebec Federation of Educational Establishment Directors, who denounces this practice.

At the Essor volleyball club, which oversees the training of students enrolled in three sports-study programs in the Quebec City region, no measurements are taken when selecting students in sixth grade,

“For us, the size is not very important because at that age, all young people will still grow,” says the head of these programs, Rock Picard.

What they said:

“I thought I had seen it all when it came to sorting students into particular programs. But if students are really chosen according to their measurements, that would add a layer of inequity to a system which is already very unfair”.

– Stéphane Vigneault, coordinator of the École ensemble movement.

“Special programs are excellent and very motivating for students, but it must be done without selection criteria, whether academic, financial or physical.”

– Nicolas Prévost, President of the Quebec Federation of Educational Institution Directors

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Selection in volleyball at school: parents denounce that we measure the length of the arms