Opinion: Should gym be required?

There is no doubt that phys ed classes teach important, lifelong lessons. But should they be required for four years in high school, even for students who lead physically active lives outside of school?

Sarah Klosky, Staff Writer

Physical education at North Allegheny offers units and activities that many other schools do not offer, such as swimming and tennis. For students who do not have the opportunity to be physically active outside of school, PE is a class that should be encouraged for its physical and mental benefits. There are life-long learning opportunities that can be gained from our knowledgeable gym teachers. 

However, for students who are athletes, gym class may feel like a burden instead of a necessity. With the amount of exercise they already receive, taking on another athletic priority can feel excessive. 

Gym class should be optional for students who can demonstrate that they lead physically active lives outside of school. 

As a cheerleader, I undergo demanding physical activity at a minimum of three days a week, equivalent to the number of gym classes I have every other week. I also work a job in retail another three days a week, which requires me to constantly be on the move.

Of course, gym class entails many benefits, both physical and mental. But it’s hard to overlook the fact that many students who participate in sports outside of school are already taking advantage of those benefits. My cheerleading, for example, has made me more resistant to stress, in addition to improving my physical health.  

Also, my school schedule would be less complicated if I were not required to take gym. I would not have to find a class or settle for a study hall that fits into its every-other-day demands, nor be forced to take an entire semester of gym in order to take another semester course I enjoy. I would not have to consider giving up classes I love, in exchange for new classes I want to take, simply to satisfy my gym requirement. 

NA has an impressively wide selection of units within its gym classes, and the district’s gym teachers are passionate about their subject. Gym class in high school is undoubtedly beneficial to students whose lives do not already include sufficient physical activity. It’s also beneficial to students who already are physically active but genuinely want to take the class.

But requiring four years of physical education comes at a cost to some students.  Personally, not having a gym class in my schedule would meet my needs as a student. 


Editors’ note: All opinions expressed on The Uproar are a reflection solely of the beliefs of the bylined author and not the journalism program at NASH.  We continue to welcome school-appropriate comments and guest articles.