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Braintree High Student Press

Braintree High Student Press

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Students Wish Phys Ed Wasn’t a Requirement, Admin Says Otherwise

Students+Wish+Phys+Ed+Wasnt+a+Requirement%2C+Admin+Says+Otherwise

Is physical education really that important of a class?  This is a question that you may hear from many students. Physical education is a required course until you graduate from Public Schools in Massachusetts despite the complaints you can hear from teenagers.

The state law is as follows: “Physical education shall be taught as a required subject in all grades for all students in the public schools for the purpose of promoting the physical well-being of such students.”

The Braintree High School policy: “All students will take part in physical education class for two periods in each seven day cycle for the entire year unless excused by a physician.” However, the way classes are decided depends on your grade. 

This process is also in the Program of Studies: “Freshmen will automatically be scheduled for physical education, Sophomore students are presented with a variety of team, individual and lifetime activities, and Junior and Senior students have an opportunity to select from a variety of activities/sports over 4 terms.” While there are complaints of gym classes, the opportunity to choose what type of gym class to take during your last two years is a policy that many students benefit from. 

However, director of the guidance department, Mr. Garofalo, insinuates that an absence in the need for gym classes is most likely due to mental health issues. “I’d say the slight increase in students who would prefer not to take Phys Ed is more so over the last 5-7 years, and it is usually anxiety related.”Administration here at Braintree High see value in the fitness of their students and choose to focus on this idea with their rules. “We value the Health/Wellness aspect of a student’s education, and think it’s important for students’ overall well-being, so we require it all year,” Garofalo states.

Director of Health and Wellness, Ms. Bennett, supports the idea of physical education being required all four years, “Physical education is more than just activities or sports— you’re actually going to get to engage in communication and teamwork and all these skills you’re going to need beyond.”

Just nearby, both Quincy High Schools are places that also enforce this rule throughout all four years of high school. But when you look at other schools’ policies, you begin to wonder if this system is fair or if schools are finding ways around these laws? Take Sharon High School for example, where requirements consist of, “2 semesters of coursework in both Wellness and Physical Education.” Students were required to take only two years of gym, but after some time the rule just recently changed with an addition to the program of studies where the start the class of 2025 students and beyond will be required to take wellness and/or physical education each year in grades 9-12. 

David Zelenchuk, a senior at Sharon High School, felt that he was able to focus more on his academics and be more productive without having to worry about getting four full years of physical education. “I really feel more productive, I actually have the extra time now to catch up on work or take any elective I’m interested in.”

Students here at Braintree High School also feel that they would be better off without gym classes all four years of school. Sophia Norales, a senior here at Braintree believes this to be true, 

“I just wish I at least had the option to not take it senior year, I’d rather have the option to study or even take more classes.” 

While students may not enjoy physical education, there are still undeniable benefits to taking it, “For the most part you’re going to be exposed to people and there’s a lot of engagement, there’s a lot of communication where maybe sometimes you wouldn’t get that in a classroom,” said Bennett when asked about why physical education is important.

Overall, there seems to be disagreement between staff and students when talking about this topic, with seniors feeling they could be doing better things with their time and teachers knowing the physical and mental benefits. Whether or not students should be required to take gym is an argument that isn’t new, so the issue will likely not be resolved any time soon.

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About the Contributor
Heidy Castellanos, BHS News, WampTV Reporter
I’m a senior in the class of 2024, this is my first year on the BHS news and I’ll be on Wamp TV for the second semester, I work at American Eagle and I love cooking and shopping!

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