Controversy Exists Concerning P.E. Requirements

Amanda Argall, Student of Journalism

With the 2019-’20 school year inching closer, an abundance of change will soon exist at NHS. One seemingly controversial adjustment is the altered physical education requirements: athletes, of certain sports, will no longer have to take the class in order to receive the credit. Instead, their school sport suffices.

Most athletes seem to be on board with the idea; however, it is a different story when it comes to physical education teachers, such as Jason Barber, who is the strength and conditioning coach as well.

“I am very against the idea . . . kids are going to miss out on a lot of valuable health and fitness knowledge that isn’t taught in sports.”

P.E. teachers agree there is more to physical education than being active in the class itself; there is a curriculum being taught.

A curriculum that is not reciprocated in a sport.

Through sports, athletes learn how to increase their athletic ability for a specific venue. Whereas in physical and wellness education, athletes are taught how to keep themselves healthy through a variety of physical activities and teachings of basic health principles.

It is no secret that teenagers will one day have to learn to be conscious of their health, just as they one day had to learn how to walk.

“Sports end eventually and athletes have to know how to keep themselves healthy too. We already see so many kids putting on weight and becoming a lot less fit after high school sports.”

According to, researchers at Auburn University in Alabama studied 131 students over the course of their four years in college and found that 70 percent of them packed on pounds on by graduation (an average of 12, and a maximum of 37).

Other physical education teachers, such as Vicki Dohr (K-12 P.E. Department Chair), believe there are even more benefits to taking a PE course than learning the curriculum.

“It gives them a mental break during the day and provides them the opportunity to work with others (in a competitive or fitness setting),” Dohr said.

Seven hours of brain activity can be exasperating. At times, it can be difficult to convince students to take a break. Assuring they have an hour to do physical activity promotes healthy habits — mentally and physically.

Dohr also mentioned that the CDC has done studies that suggest that physical activity during the school day can improve academic performance.  “It can enhance attitude and concentration.” 

Because of the significant decrease in students, the variety of physical education classes will most likely not be offered in the coming years. And with that, the number of wellness teachers.

“The writing’s on the wall; we’re gonna be losing somebody in the next 2-3 years,” Barber said.

Having less teachers results in less teachers to pay and more money saved by the district. Maintaining a budget is reality.  Is this budget cutting or fiscal responsibility?

While this is all speculation, Principal Brian Wunderlich confirmed, “Budget cuts were not a part of the decision.”

Regardless of the driving force of the adjusted requirement, P.E. teachers believe the curriculum taught in physical education is too crucial to not be taught to everyone.