D210 Will Ask State for P.E. Waiver for Freshmen, Sophomores in Sports

Some district residents objected to the board's decision Wednesday to request the exemption. But board members said the waiver might not be used even if it's approved.

board approved a request for a waiver from the state that would allow freshman and sophomore who participate in athletics to be exempt from physical education classes during a special meeting Wednesday afternoon at . 

Currently, students in ROTC and seniors and juniors in marching band and school sports can ask to be exempt from P.E. classes. 

Some teachers and district residents, however, objected to the board pursuing a waiver during a public hearing before action was taken, as well as after the meeting had ended. 

"I've never heard anyone make a New Year's resolution that asks to exercise less," said P.E. teacher Joanne Holverson. "That's what you're considering."

Even though freshmen and sophomores exercising the exemption would still be participating in physically demanding athletics, not all sports address every aspect of exercise, which is where P.E. comes in, Holverson added. She used bowling as an example, saying that although it's a great sport, it doesn't deal with the cardiovascular system.


Beth Maher, a New Lenox resident who supervises student teachers in physical education for the University of Illinois, said P.E. classes also have an educational aspect that school sports don't have.

"Activity and education are not the same thing," she said. "Physical education prepares students for a lifetime. Athletics prepare them for the next game."

Board members were quick to point out that just because they were asking for a waiver didn't mean they would receive it, nor would it mean that they would use it even if the exemption was improved. The district currently has a waiver from the state that exempts freshman and sophomores in marching band from P.E. classes, but it doesn't use it, board President Arvid Johnson said after the meeting.

The idea of asking for a waiver came up at the board's last meeting, and it needed to decide whether to ask before the state's deadline of Jan. 12, Johnson said. As for why the board is seeking a waiver, Johnson said it wasn't a cost-cutting measure, something audience members speculated and asked about during the meeting. The board wanted pursue the waivers in order to give students and their parents options.

"It's not taking away a choice from anyone," Johnson during the meeting. "In fact, it's giving them a choice. It's giving them an option."

Johnson said he doesn't know when the state will decide on the district's request nor how the board will proceed after a decision is made. 

Ed December 22, 2011 at 07:03 PM
If these kids can't handle 45 minutes of high school PE they shouid not be on any sports teams. There is nothing exhausting about high school PE unless you are the ultimate wimp.
River Smith December 23, 2011 at 02:55 AM
Ask the school board how much they actually know about the Frosh/Soph curriculum. I bet they have no idea what the kids are learning and doing in class. If they did they wouldn't be substituting their participation in a extracurricular for an educational activity. PE teachers teach so much more these days than how to dribble a ball. They teach about resting, active and target heart rate. They teach about life long fitness and activities. This is just to name a few. Why ask for a waiver if you don't plan on using it. I will vote against all current board members should this go through...
L. Smith January 26, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Worried about kids getting fat due to lack of a PE class? It has as much (if not more) to do with eating habits as it does with exercise. Are you going to protest all the junk food they serve at school too? If a kid practices 2 hours a day, 5 days a week + games in a strenuous sport then let the parent choose whether they feel their kid needs PE on top of that.
Concerned Parent January 27, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Has anybody done their research on how having P.E. directly effects learning? More movement = better grades. Check out Naperville Central and how they have added movement to improve student achievement. Keep P.E!
Robert Nork January 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM
I think it is a good option to have. I think people are over reacting to this. My daughter is planning on using this option next year as a senior. She decided to do this because there was no way she could fit Honors Pre-Calculus in her schedule along with the other classes she wanted to take and still take a gym class. I was even willing to pay for a zero hour class in order for her to still keep PE in her schedule, but none of the classes she is taking is offered in zero hour. I told her to discuss it with a school counselor and this is the option they came up with. I am OK with it. I don't think kids get fat because they don't take PE in school - most of it comes from their home environment. Remember - it is for kids doing a sport, so I think as long as the school and the parents are involved with the decision, it is a good thing.


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