Should students be required to take PE classes?

Sophia Fierro, Staff Writer

PE has been known to be one of the most hated classes by grade-schoolers for different reasons. Nearly 10% of freshmen fail their ninth grade PE course and retake it over the summer. Many students cite the unwillingness to participate in physical activities as a cause for their poor grades, while a few others accuse PE’s challenges of their failure in the class.

A handful of states require students in grades 9-12th to take PE classes regardless if they participate in a sport or not. There have been many debates and arguments about this topic, a vast majority of adults being pro-PE, while preteens, teens, and children wish for PE classes to be removed. In California, the minimum requirement for PE is two courses; if you participate in a sport, that sport replaces your PE class. Most students enjoy this policy, getting exercise by doing a sport that you enjoy rather than being forced to by a teacher. The ongoing argument between adults and students, though is, should PE be mandatory for all grades?

“It is common knowledge that there is almost a 33% obesity rate in children,” said Christopher Song from the Elestoque website. The additional health risks associated with obesity can potentially change a person’s life, let alone a child’s. The difference between a child and teenager though can be drastic; children cannot make a multitude of sensible decisions. A teenager might be able to see the risks of not exercising and eating healthy and can create a change to prevent those risks, while a child might not be able to do that.

There are more benefits of making PE mandatory for children than there are for teenagers. Teenagers are much more independent than children and like to make their own choices and decisions, like working out. Teenagers are more likely to enjoy working out and continue working out if they do it on their own terms. Children are more likely to enjoy working out regardless if they choose to or not. Mandatory PE classes for high schoolers could, in a sense, have the opposite effect than what teachers and adults want them to have. 

Having mandatory PE classes for children can have many health benefits and positive outcomes while having mandatory PE classes for teenagers can be less than helpful. A good way to encourage a teenager or preteen into exercising is to suggest that they create a workout routine that they enjoy and then explain why it is important that they stay physically healthy. Exercising is extremely important and something that people should be doing almost daily, but forcing it upon others is sometimes not the right way to go.