With childhood obesity numbers on the rise, you might think that schools are doing everything they can to help their students meet their daily exercise needs. Not so in 32 states. According to National Association for Sport and Physical Education spokeswoman Paula Kun, the numbers of states who allow students an exemption from P.E. class has been on the rise since 2006.
Students who are enrolled in marching band, cheerleading, and interscholastic sports are often allowed to use an exemption to avoid P.E. class. There are also exemptions allowed for disability or religious reasons.
“Unfortunately, so many schools are having more and more waivers — particularly at the high school level,” Kun says. “The great majority of high school students are required to take physical education only one year out of the four. They get out for religious reasons, for ROTC, for marching band. There’s a whole slew of waiver possibilities.”
The NASPE opposes these exemptions. Many states allow the exemptions in order to help students reach their educational goals and to take more classes. Some schools offer do online physical education classes, which include instruction on diet and nutrition with exercises for the students to complete on their own.
The Des Moines, IA school district announced recently that they are looking to make exemptions more difficult to obtain, as well as moving to require all students to take P.E. classes for each year of high school.