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.