District looks into more P.E. waiver options

by Rosalie Chan, Web Editor

District 214 voted Oct. 18 on a proposal that would allow students in marching band or Navy Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (NJROTC) to have the option of a waiver out of physical education during the semester they participate in that activity.
Since students receive exercise in marching band and NJROTC, the school board made this proposal on Oct. 4.  Results of the vote were not available by press time.
“It was brought up to the board on Oct. 4 in response from what we heard from parents, teachers and students about the amount of homework students have and how they have to stay up late after practice to get their homework done,” Dr. David Schuler, superintendent, said.
If the board approves of this policy, the P.E. waiver will be available starting the 2013-14 school year.
“I hope District 214 can find a balance between the needs of our students and the importance of P.E.,” Brian Logan, band director, said.  “I think in principle it sounds like a good idea, but I have many questions about how it will look and work so students are still involved in the outstanding P.E. program at our school.”
Currently, juniors and seniors in a varsity sport can waive out of P.E. during the term of that sport season.  However, many still take P.E. or Advanced P.E.
Victor Vazquez, junior, said that he would still take P.E. next year, even though he participates in NJROTC.
“I think it’s good and bad.  It’s bad that people will get out of P.E. because they think they can get an easy way out.  It’s good for ROTC because we are lacking numbers for ROTC,” Vazquez said.
Students who qualify for exemption from P.E. as a result of participation in an activity do not have to waive out of P.E., but they would have that option.
“The band kids in my class are always the best to work with.  The bands kids are the biggest loss and have a good work ethic.  They’re the leaders of the class,” Michael Tice, P.E. teacher, said.  “I think it’s a reasonable proposal, but I hope the band kids choose to stay in P.E.”
According to Dr. Schuler, the board has received positive reaction to this proposal.
“Yes, we need them.  They don’t realize how much work we put into each and every day.  It’s very hard for kids who do this to go straight to gym,” Katherine Wargo, junior, said.  “They are all worn out.  A lot of kids who don’t have a study hall or are in a fall sport can get that extra time.”
However, Tim Falconer, P.E. teacher, believes that the district should not reduce activity level for students.
“My personal feelings on it are that it really doesn’t meet the needs of our students,” Mr. Falconer said.  “I don’t want to bash band or NJROTC.  I think we need to understand the importance of where we’re at as a country in terms of obesity levels.  I don’t think it’s a good time to be reducing activity levels for kids.”
In addition, he has concerns over the effects of this waiver for teachers.
“If 200 to 300 kids are going to waiver, many teachers are concerned they will lose their job,” Mr. Falconer said.
Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Morse, senior naval science instructor, said he had mixed feelings about the proposal.
“I’m mixed because we have a really good P.E. program.  I like the kids to have P.E., but often they are cramped on their schedule,” Lt. Cmdr. Morse said.  “When kids take ROTC they end up having to overload.  This might alleviate them from having to overload.”


Check out the results of the vote at http://wheelingspokesman.com/?p=830