P.E. Exemption- How Good Is It Really?

Physical Education (P.E.) Exemption. With P.E. exemption, senior varsity athletes (or all varsity athletes) do not need to attend P.E. class during the season of the sport in which they participate. The thought process behind this is that the students who are exempt fulfill the P.E. requirement on their own time, and thus they no longer needed to participate in P.E. class. Although a blessing for many, there are other reasons to object this said exemption. 

Who is to imply that those who land a spot on the varsity squad try harder than those on a junior varsity team? A common misconception is that those who are varsity athletes work harder during practices. More often than not, junior varsity players try harder because they are the ones giving 100% to impress the captains and the coaches. Junior varsity athletes are the people who aren’t on the squad, and their spot isn’t as secure, so they do everything in their power to ensure that their skills are seen and acknowledged. So, what is it that makes being a varsity athlete any more difficult than those on the junior varsity teams? Don’t junior varsity players deserve to be exempt from physical education as well? This policy is unfair to those who show up to practice each and every day and try the hardest they possibly can. Not getting exempted almost seems like a punishment to them because they are trying as hard as those on varsity squads, and maybe even harder. This can cause certain select students to reflect poorly on themselves and ask themselves why they weren’t the ones chosen to get exempt as well. It is not considered a great representation of inclusion because it is not applicable to athletes who work extremely hard.

Students need to concentrate and focus during their classes, and there can occasionally be distractions that disrupt that focus-  receiving a grade, noise in the hallways, or even a fire drill. The sole purpose of P.E. exemption is to provide students with an extra period of time that should be spent studying and or finishing schoolwork. The hope is that these students utilize this time diligently as it is rewarded to them in a way. However, this hope is not always the reality of the situation. Some students take this time to de-stress, which is acceptable, but manage to intrude on other classes that are in session. When taking a test, especially one that covers material one is not so familiar with, one may be concerned about their concentration levels and ability to complete that test within the given amount of time. If students are roaming around the school producing too much noise others diligently working in class would be harmed. A student could’ve gotten a better grade if they weren’t so distracted trying to tune out the students in the hallway; to a degree, shouldn’t those who were causing interruptions be at fault? Students deserve to do well in their classes and this success is a direct result of their focus and dedication to the course. It is unjust to hinder student success by avoidable distractions, and because of this, those who are exempt must be stopped from making too much noise in the hallways. It might be better to direct the exempt students out of campus, if the district permits, or to a space within the building that won’t cause any distractions for anyone else, or just stop exemptions altogether. 

Is P.E. exemption really worth all of this struggle for others? What might seem like a reward and benefit for one is really a great obstacle for the others. The exempt students might feel a relief from their stressful school day, but who is to say that they aren’t causing others stress and anxiety because of this exemption? It seems as though some may be looking at this positive exemption from too broad of a perspective and need to take into consideration the effect that it is having on others.

Read the counter-article here.