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The Falcon Flyer

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Opting-Out of Physical Education

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Opting-Out of Physical Education

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Because of its status as a graduation requirement, most of us have taken a PE class at Prairie. Whether it be SST, Health & Fitness, or even Bodywise, the common student has taken at least 3 semesters of active classes or plans to do so. However, notice my use of the word “common” for a moment. Because in actuality, despite the credit being required to graduate, there is an option to be able to remove it. Give me about 5 paragraphs to explain why this is absolutely ridiculous in most cases.

Now obviously, I understand the need for a credit waiver. It wouldn’t necessarily be fair nor ethical to require a disabled student to run lines or play dodgeball. The real issue I have with credit waivers are the kids who do it not simply because they need to, but because they can.

To begin, kids who don’t take a PE class are immediately thrusting themselves into a pool of risk. In America today, the obesity rate of 12-19 year olds is just under 21%. To translate, that’s every 1 in 5 teenagers in the modern age. Additionally, ranked above all cancers combined, heart disease kills the most people each year in the United States. Diabetes is also listed at number seven of causes of death, though Type 2 accounts for 90-95% of cases and deaths.

All of these have one thing in common, they’re all preventable, completely and easily. The root of it all is physical activity and diet, two things often overlooked by teenagers. This is why us young adults need to be partaking in an easy opportunity to become healthy, not to mention the fact that it’s free. I asked Coach Peck for his thoughts on the matter, and he summed it up perfectly. Peck said, “without your health, you have nothing else.” He also explained his belief in fitness classes being just as important as math, science, or literature.

It wouldn’t be fair to say Physical Education classes are only physical, because the education portion is paramount as well. Not only do these credits get kids up and moving, they also teach how to properly pursue fitness after high school while also stressing the need for a healthy diet. Without these classes, students are left with a self-inflicted disadvantage that will show up about seven years after graduation when their metabolism slows down than I-5 during rush hour.

Some might ask, “what about athletes?” To that I say, what about them? First off, obviously not all sports require an equal level of fitness. If you try to convince me that someone who runs cross country is in similar shape to someone who golfs, I’ll probably laugh in your face. Let me be clear and say I have a massive amount of respect for golfers, that stuff is hard (shoutout Cam Beeson), but if we’re being honest a golfer will condition nowhere near the level a cross country runner will, Also, just because they do a sport, that doesn’t mean our athletes know exactly what they’re doing. They may have questions about the science of exercise or diets that would go unanswered without taking a PE class. Additionally, there is proven science behind the implementation of light in-season lifting/exercise to further improve athletic performance and injury management. So really in the end, even our athletes shouldn’t get their PE credits waived, because it only pushes their own results to the max.

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Opting-Out of Physical Education