New Athletic PE Policy Discriminates against Club Sports

Layla Wright, Staff Writer

A new physical education policy has been introduced this school year, allowing sophomores to earn their PE credit for the year by participating in 2 seasons of after school sports.

While this may initially sound like a good idea, there are many factors that make it an ineffective program.

The 1st problem is that the policy unfairly discriminates against club sports.  Only school sports can be used for PE credit.

Club sports can be just as time consuming and physically demanding.  In fact, they are often more challenging and more competitive than their school-connected counterparts.  The argument might be that school administration has no control over these club programs, and can not ensure that what is being offered is consistent with the district’s PE requirements.  While that may be the case, it is a laughable point considering the broad range of standards, rules, and levels of commitment and seriousness that exist within the school’s athletic program.  The difference between what athletes are doing in disparate sports like golf, tennis, cross country and football is striking.  The programs have different expectations for attendance, for effort, and for performance.  To say that athletes are receive similar experience in each is completely false.

There is also the fact that the school does not offer many sports, such as rowing, gymnastics, or dance.  Why should students with interest or talent in these unrepresented areas be left out?. The new policy is discriminatory towards these other legitimate physical activities.

While some students are receiving credit for their school-connected after school sport participation, and therefore, are able to take fewer classes during the school day, those who do not participate in sports are stuck with a 7 period schedule.

Many student-athletes take advantage of the extra fee time afforded by their 6 period schedule to complete homework and stay ahead of the demands in their academic classes.  Some club sport athletes, on the other hand, are stuck in school for the entire school day, then attend their after school club practice or competition, and then stay up late to complete their academic work.  Is it fair that these club sport athletes are penalized for choosing to participate on a club team while their school-connected counterparts are rewarded?

Even if the athlete chooses not to use these after school hours to do homework, or do not have a particularly heavy academic load, unstructured time is still a critical necessity for teens . According to the Huffington Post, the brain needs time to itself to do basically nothing. Without time to clear your head, stress builds up and motivation levels fall, which can lead to sleep deprivation.

The new schedule does help students who need additional sleep, with 3 school days starting 35 minutes later than in prior years. However, this change is a wash if the time students are awake is jam packed with responsibilities.

Club sport athletes should be afforded the same opportunity to earn PE credit as their school sport counterparts.