By Salma El Boudali:
Most high schools have a PE requirement. Every student must take PE, and it’s almost impossible to get out of completing it (yes, I have tried), which is torturous for many students. If you’re lame and do extracurricular sports, then PE may be your favorite class, but for people like me, it is the class of embarrassment, not education. But see, students are so focused on the fact that it is a class requirement that we don’t notice that school buildings are PE machines.
Almost everything in school has PE incorporated into it, so even if you pull all the strings and get out of PE, you’ll still do it. For example, the stairs. I know when I said stairs, an image appeared in your head of your high school’s deadly sharp stairs. Every day we have to walk up and down those stairs. I still remember tiredly walking up the school stairs with my friend in middle school and our Spanish teacher, who was on the staircase, laughed at us for being tired (she was tired too, but she said her tiredness was warranted because she was pregnant. What’s the issue with a thirteen-year-old being as tired as a pregnant woman?).
Every morning, I have to walk up to the third floor of my high school to go to my AP Biology class. I am already taking AP Biology, do I really need physical pain on top of that?
Proof that school is targeting PE against children is that teachers usually can ride on the elevator. Well, why don’t schools have super big elevators, like the ones at Ikea or the hospital for students? If Ikeas or hospitals have them, so should high schools.
Stairs are only the most obvious PE infringement on high school students. Another is the huge textbooks many teachers give us. They are physically (and mentally) painful for students, since we have to carry them in our backpacks.
And, every high school student has a minimum of one class in their schedule that is on the other side of the school from their previous class. Walking there takes about four minutes.
How about fire drills? Fire drills are more useless than math warm-ups. Fire drills just make the student body go up and down the stairs together and either shiver in the outside cold or sweat in the heat (both of which burn calories).
PE is ingrained in all student experiences. Like when you have to pass papers to the person behind you. When you’re told to handwrite something. When you have to unpack and pack at the beginning and end of class.
School has many negative features, and making students move is obviously one of them. Tired legs are clearly worse than childhood obesity, laziness, future risk of heart disease, diabetes, and blood clotting.