Do We Really Need Gym to Graduate?

being forced to do physical activity could be the reason some students have a hard time graduating.

Do We Really Need Gym to Graduate?



Believe it or not but students can actually not graduate on time because of failing gym. You can be passing all your classes except Phys. Ed. and still have to make it up or else you won’t get a diploma. The question is, should gym count as a requirement to graduate?

       High school is a very confusing time for teenagers. It’s also a very emotional period in someone’s life. Not everyone wants to be a star athlete and not everyone is comfortable being active in front of all their classmates. For example, if a student doesn’t feel comfortable and feels embarrassed about participating in a gym, it’s likely they might not even show up to the class. If they completely just stop showing up to their class, it’s failing them and they lose credits that go towards graduation. In The New York Times contest-winning editorial, ‘Gym class villain’, it says “ as if being weighed in front of your classmates isn’t punishment enough, your G.P.A suffers as well.” For the people who don’t like to participate or feel too uncomfortable to participate, it affects their grade in that class and when they finish the quarter or semester with a bad grade, it makes its way to the students transcript and brings down their G.P.A. What’s even worse is if they are taking more than one gym class and the other gym class also isn’t the best grade, the bad grades bring their G.P.A. It’s very unfair, especially is their academic classes are all high grades.

Another reason why the gym shouldn’t be a requirement is that it takes up students’ free time. From personal experience, my schedule has been so packed that I have study once or twice a cycle. Students may not have wifi or the resources at home to be able to do online assignments or anything like that. Also, kids may work and play sports after school so they need that study time to work on homework while they can. More importantly, students may need to study for a big important test that may have a big impact on their grades. 

Even if the gym was optional, kids would still take the class. Gym teachers wouldn’t need to worry about losing their jobs because the people that were born to compete and play sports would take the class optionally, while the other kids can have the free time that they may desperately need.

Gym, on the other hand, is good for motivating and pushing students to be active instead of lazy. It also may inspire kids to play a certain sport or influence them to be more involved.

I bet most kids would rather have a high G.P.A, rather than have multiple failing grades because they can’t keep up. So here’s a compromise inspired by Triton Regional high schools Carla Wagner. Instead of making it mandatory to do 4 years of  gym we should make it two. The first two years kids take the gym to explore different sports and go into high school being actives and possibly interest them into playing sports after school. Junior and senior year, gym class should be optional and if kids would rather have the period that they would have a gym to do work than it benefits them but if not than the gym becomes one of their electives.

Pushing kids to be uncomfortable and practically setting them up to fail is completely unfair but maybe one day students and administrators can come together and meet in the middle and find a compromise for the students.