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Opinion: Parents should prioritize children’s development, not social norms

Too many factors make redshirting children an impossible reality. Image created in with Imagen in Canva

“What’s your rush?” This question appeared in The Atlantic article “Red shirt the boys. The article argues that boys should be held back a year because men’s brains develop at a slower rate than females’. 

The redshirt concept comes from college athletes who don’t play for their teams on game day but practice with them during their freshman year to save their four years of eligibility. Should parents follow the “redshirt” model and hold their boys back one year?

I asked a small sample size of 30 Brophy seniors on whether they would rather be held back a year. An overwhelming majority said yes, despite not having a solid reason. 

“I wouldn’t care, if everyone is the same age then what does it matter,” said Joseph Potts ’24

When asked if the students agreed with this statement, most said yes. And those who said no didn’t have a much better answer. 

“I just don’t want to be behind anyone,” said Hunter Adams ’24.

No one wants to be left behind. Even if all boys were held back, there is still the idea that they are slower than girls. This will negatively impact the mental health of pre-adolescent boys.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), men are more likely to have inferiority complexes, and this will only get worse in time with the thought that they are ‘worse’ than girls just because they are boys. 

The same article from the NIH says that low-self esteem is a major cause for depression in young males. What do you think is going to happen if all men are held back because they are intrinsically inferior?

Furthermore, the original article assumes everyone is the same age going into school, but it doesn’t account for students that are gifted, students that are born right before the cutoff, or students that may need more time than just one more year. And what about students who are ready to be put in school at the age of five? Should they be held back anyway? 

There is a lot of evidence pointing to the fact that schools should start boys later. Many students said they wouldn’t mind being held back. But I disagree. There are too many factors – socially, mentally, etc, that make this system impossible. I’d prefer if parents do not ‘redshirt’ the boys. 

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Renzo Moran
Renzo Moran, Editor-in-Chief
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