Reconsider P.E. requirement for varsity athletes


Art by Sarah McDermott

When the word “school” comes to mind, one is reminded of the typical classes like math, science, and literature. Most people overlook a class that has been in the school curriculum since around 1820. That class is physical education.

In grade school, P.E. is used as a means of energizing students and helping kids “blow off steam” so to speak. Starting in Kindergarten for most kids, students partake in P.E. class to learn about exercising, sports, and how to cooperate with others on a team. The class is often associated with fun and—for the most part—is enjoyed by students worldwide. However one pressing question has puzzled schools worldwide: Should physical education be a required class in the high school curriculum?

Eradicating physical education altogether would be a sweeping change since 46 out of the 50 states in America require that students take gym class in high school. Schools also must consider P.E. teachers and their importance in the school. Getting rid of gym class for high schoolers would result in jobless high school P.E. teachers worldwide. Physical education in general is not a burden and can be defended by its ultimate goal of limiting childhood obesity and promoting healthy decisions worldwide. However, the largest problem still lies in the decreased GPA students receive when they fall victim to the debatable biased grading system.
Some students argue that P.E. class is a complete waste and only lowers GPAs for the sake of participation points. Other students find P.E. class enjoyable and a great way to learn the mechanics of the body. Another viewpoint states P.E. class should only be mandatory for one of the four high school years. A final compromise on the situation allows Varsity-sport athletes to be excused from physical education if they do so desire.
However, each school is different as is each individual person’s experience with P.E. class. Is P.E. class educational or just a fun activity? Should P.E. class be mandatory or optional? Although PE classes have been a trade mark of high school for years, schools must consider whether or not P.E. should still be taken by every student, especially since many students are involved in varsity sports and should focus on their sport rather than just doing P.E.