Should students be required to take Physical Education classes?

Jenny Valenti, Contributing Writer

All schools are required to offer physical education. At Schreiber, students have a wide range of these classes to choose from, including Outdoor Education and Dance and Movement. In theory, these classes sound fulfilling and fun, yet to what extent are these classes actually beneficial to students?

While the concept of physical education classes is great, many students feel that the classes do not fulfill their expectations. With so many other classes and credit requirements, it may simply be an unnecessary burden to additionally require students to take gym classes.

“It’s just a waste of time because students spend more time socializing than actually exercising,” said sophomore Chloe Weyl.

An hour-long gym class is a relatively short window, especially when you factor in the time it takes to get changed. This also makes it difficult for students to truly get their 60-minutes of exercise in. On top of this, many students don’t take gym class very seriously, causing some people to feel like the class is a waste of time.

An hour-long gym class is relatively short window, especially when you must factor in the time that it takes for students to get changed. This also makes it difficult for students to truly get their 60-minutes of exercise in through just their time in school. On top of this, many students don’t take gym class very seriously, causing some people to view it as a waste of time.

Using gym as a time to socialize, a very common occurrence, also defeats the purpose of the class. As the intensity of classes and pressure of grades increases, high school students end up participating less and less in physical education classes.

Moreover, gym classes at Schreiber have very strict attendance requirements that students often have trouble meeting. If students miss a class for reasons like sicknesses or field trips, they would drop about half a letter grade until this class is made up at a different time.

“I don’t like gym because if we are absent from one day of school, even if we’re sick, our grade is decreased significantly unless we use a study period to make it up,” said junior Melissa Hernandez.

In theory, this was meant to prevent students skipping gym class, but in practice, it’s ineffective. Physical education does not count towards students’ GPAs, leaving many without the urge to make up the classes they missed. However, these grades do end up on students’ official high school transcripts. This may have the unfortunate result of students ending up with poor grades that they are not motivated to try and make better.

“The class doesn’t count towards my GPA, so I’d personally prefer to take one that does, or to have more time to study for my core classes,” said junior Anthony DiPreta.

On the other hand, by actually making up these gym classes, students potentially lose a free period which they could have used as a study time. With AP courses, college admissions, standardized testing and homework, physical education requirements can actually take time away from the time that students use for studies in school.

“I would rather spend my time taking a course I’m interested in or spending the period in the library,” said junior Brian Schorr.

If it is too much to do away with gym requirements completely, varsity and junior varsity athletes should not have to participate in gyms classes during the school day, as they dedicate hours to their after-school sports while in season. Instead of participating in physical education, these athletes should be able to do their homework during this period so it is not left until after they get home from practice.

“I don’t think it’s fair for student athletes to be required to participate in Phys. Ed. because we’re already spending hours after school practicing,” said junior Tara McCarthy.

Even though they would not be participating in physical education classes, these athletes would still be fulfilling the daily suggested time for physical activity. For them, gym classes are also unnecessary.

All of this said, the importance of fitness and physical education can not be overstated. These classes are an important part of our school’s resources to those who utilize them properly, and should not be entirely eliminated from the curriculum. However, as the majority of students do not take them entirely seriously, it is unfair to require them, especially for all of high school.