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High school Phys Ed should be optional at NA

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photo by Kendel Barber

photo by Kendel Barber

photo by Kendel Barber

Kendel Barber, Reporter

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Ever since kindergarten, North Allegheny has forced its students to take a physical education class, starting at once a week and gradually working up to every other day, in addition to a health class for one semester of high school. Once students reach high school, almost everyone can agree that they stop caring about gym class and cease putting in any effort. Because this causes students to get nothing out of the class, I do not think Physical Education should be a required class in high school at NA.

Some people have the misunderstanding that Physical Education is a required class regulated by the state, but according to the Pennsylvania profile by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, at the high school level, “Planned [physical education] instruction must be available to every student in the senior high school program,” but it is not mandatory for every student to take.

Many high school students are involved in sports, which demonstrates that they have already found a way to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives in an enjoyable way.”

In fact, many high schools have started to adopt a non-mandatory track for physical education classes, so that if a student plays a school sport they do not need to take a gym class. This is a great plan to gradually reduce the need for high school gym class, but I think that NA should eventually take it one step further and remove the gym requirement completely. Because some students enjoy gym class and some parents believe taking a gym class is a good option for their child, it should be a personal decision — one not made by the school.

According to the North Allegheny Health and Physical Education Philosophy Statement, “The goal of the North Allegheny Physical Education program is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to value and apply physical activity and its benefits for a lifetime.” While this is an essential lesson to be instilled in young minds, high schoolers have already been given this knowledge. Many high school students are involved in sports, which demonstrates that they have already found a way to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives in an enjoyable way.

Additionally, most students who are not involved in a school sport do some type of physical activity on their own; some work out at a personal gym, run outside, or do workouts at home. Of course, there are some students who don’t get any physical activity outside of P.E. class at school, in which case the student or their parents may prefer a gym class. Even so, the entire student body should not be required to take a gym class just to accommodate this small percentage of students.

Because students are required to take .5 credits per year of a physical education class at NA, there is less opportunity to take other classes that may be more beneficial or useful to the individual student.  In high school, many students face the issue of not having enough room in their schedule to take all the classes they want, and getting rid of the gym requirement would help with this issue. While .5 credits may not seem like a lot, after 4 years, it starts to add up, and students may miss out on classes that could have benefited them more. When applying to college, NA students have a slight disadvantage to those at high schools where Physical Education did not take up some of their credits.

Most importantly, P.E. classes are not necessarily useful to all students. Once teens have reached high school, most don’t care about gym class, and the effort put in is very minimal. It seems that the only value is a break from the stressful school day, which still isn’t enough for most people to want to take the class. Perhaps if everyone put in more effort and fully participated, students could greatly benefit, but for the entire history of high school — not just at NA — students have proven that this will never happen.

About the Writer
Kendel Barber, Reporter

Kendel Barber is a junior at North Allegheny. She is also a part of Key Club, DECA, and Unicef. Outside of school, she enjoys playing with her dog and...

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