Good-bye P.E.?

Iowa Senate introduces a bill to dismiss P.E. as a required class.


Martin Morales, Reporter

In early February, the Iowa Senate was introduced to a bill that would no longer have P.E. in schools as a required class. Students would have to do some kind of physical activity, of course. But it would not be the same as an actual class.

Initially, after reading this bill I thought, what are the positives? Some kids do dread having to go to gym class everyday, but I don’t. I enjoy being active and having fun in gym class.

But where else are kids going to get their daily requirement for exercise? Many Americans live a sedentary lifestyle, meaning they live with minimal exercise throughout the day.

“I’m part of the Iowa Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, also known as IAPHERD. I received an email saying that this bill was trying to get pushed through State Senate,” physical education teacher Kyle Fox said. “The association reached out to community members to have them reach out to their local legislators.”

Students would have the choice to either go to P.E. class in gym or go to a school-approved fitness center or sports center for at least two hours a week.

I already spend up to 10 hours a week in the weightroom, but it can affect other students in many ways. One example of this effect is with health issues, namely obesity.

Obesity continues to be a rising issue with children and teenagers, with 29 percent of teens ages 10-17 are deemed as obese in Iowa, according to a survey made by the State of Obesity organization.

But students at West are, for the most part, in favor of this bill.

“That’s not a bad idea,” freshman Thad Solbrig-Brown said. “Going to an actual gym and learning how to weightlift properly and teach good nutrition might change people’s views on physical fitness.”

Most, if not all, public fitness centers and gyms have physical trainers that are certified and know nutrition and fitness.

But not all students, like me, are in favor of this bill.

“I think this should not be approved,” junior Jacqueline Navarro said, “I don’t see why people would want to go somewhere else instead of just exercising at school.”  

I have learned how to weightlift properly through going to a fitness center almost everyday, but other students may not be as dedicated as I am to the gym. But others will be if this bill is approved. From what I’ve seen, most would not make an effort to go to the gym either. I come out of gym class sweating and tired, while others walk into the locker room full of energy.

“It takes out a student’s physical requirement for the day and reduces their chances of receiving physical activity and reduces the chance of having less students overweight or obese,” Fox said. “The way this bill is built is for parents and students to cheat the system.”

There are very few positives in this bill. Students may see this as a positive possibility, but there are more negative outcomes than positive. Physical education in schools is one of the weapons used in an already losing fight against childhood obesity.

I suffered from childhood obesity. If this bill is is introduced, that 29 percent of obese and overweight minors could go to 35 percent or 45 percent. This bill is not beneficial for Iowa in any way.

Physical education teaches students how to properly take care of physical health and fitness. If this new bill is accepted by Iowa State Senate, then the number of overweight and obese teens and children has a higher chance to increase. This is not what we need.

For more information on Senate File 2273, click here