Picture someone who has been taking every AP class that Webster offers, has played two Varsity sports and has over 50 hours volunteering. Despite all these things, this student athlete must still take a full year of PE classes to graduate.
This has been an ongoing issue with student athletes and an ongoing conversation between athletes and the administrators that has yet to be answered directly.
Being able to earn physical education credits by participating in an interscholastic sport for graduation requirements is common place in other states such as Illinois, Ohio, California and Arizona.
Missouri doesn’t allow for this, but House Bill 695 might have changed that. The bill was left in committee and static, and there is no announced plan for this bill’s revival. The bill was introduced by Donna Pfautsch, Republican representative for District 33.
The bill would have allowed for any student athlete playing two Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) certified sports in a single year would be able to get one full PE credit, which is the graduation requirement in Missouri.
“The Missouri Graduation Handbook” by Missouri District of Elementary and Secondary Education (MDESE) said, “Courses devoted to conditioning for interscholastic sports or practicing for interscholastic sports may not be counted toward meeting the minimum requirement.”
This is most likely the determining factor for athletes involved in after school sports being ineligible for PE credit.
There are no MSHSAA rules that would prevent these students to get credit.
Sean Wright, athletic trainer, health teacher and head of the athletic department, said, “Physical education has many positive aspects. It can improve your health: physically, mentally and socially.”
Accredited interscholastic sports would allow for student athletes to further their academic ambitions. They can take more electives or an academic labs to supplement their time playing sports.
A poll of 83 WGHS students revealed that this bill would raise sport participation. Students who don’t play sports would if they got credit for their participation. The data showed that 62.2 percent of people already play a sport, but 84 percent said they would participate in a sport if it meant not having to take PE.
Eighty percent of students polled thought playing a sport should count as a PE credit with 3.9 percent undecided.
Not only would changing the PE requirements help athletes free up a full year class, but it would also provide more participation in sports and more school spirit.
While the school does make accommodations and offers a variety of options that count as a sports credit, sports players should not be required to take it.
Julie Burchett, Chelsea Experiential Learning Center organizer, and Karen Verstraete, counseling department chair, agreed that students should get credit.
A football player burns about an average of 610 calories in one hour. That’s about 1,220 calories in one practice and 1,830 calories in one game. According to CalorieLab, if someone weighs 150 lbs, he or she burns about 374 calories in one hour of PE class, and that is only with intense movement.
Why must a student who already burns so many calories (physical benefit and for some a mental benefit) a day and see his or her team mates (social benefit) be forced to take a class he or she doesn’t need?
Varsity football Coach Cliff Ice said, “I don’t think that PE should be required to take, but I do think that athletes need to work out.”
Ice requires that his players either take a weight training class during school or in the mornings, twice a week.
If a coach wants his/her players to take a PE class because he/she believes it will improve the players playing, then that is a different issue. Ultimately the choice is up to the coaches.
Previously, cheerleading practice was during seventh period and counted as a PE credit. Now, cheerleaders practice after school doing the same physical activity just at a different time.
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