The student news website of Omaha Central High School

Stop failing students, take away P.E. mandates

How the district stripped me of my passion

May 26, 2022

Mandated physical education credits are by far the most ridiculous thing our school system has ever done.  

With weeks left of the school year, my counselor told me I couldn’t write for the Register my senior year. I was devastated. I’ve been writing for the school newspaper since practically stepping foot in these halls. With no formal training, I joined staff and learned everything on the job at 14 years old, terrified and intimidated. I made do and excelled. I learned how to write stories and overcame intense social anxieties.  

I was asked to apply for an editor position after freshman year, which I would assume this year. By my second year, still dealing with COVID after losing the last part of my freshman year, I qualified and placed at state for journalism in two categories. I mentored peers. I made my job a priority despite being in the IB Diploma Program. I’ve put in so many hours I couldn’t count them all, all because I loved what I did and what it stood for. All I wanted to do was be in 029 and excel.  

All of that crumbled right in front of me in my counselor’s office. Years of work, passion and dedication not even considerable. It was anything but her fault. I’d opted out of gym when I could during my high school career, obsessed with taking as many free classes as possible; College is expensive. Evidently, I needed multiple gym credits to get my diploma. Plus, with the new block scheduling, which Central was never built for, I had no choice but to drop the class after losing a period.  

I now have to enter gym classes into my schedule instead of newspaper to graduate.  

You can imagine my reaction. By the age of fifteen, I had an excessive number of academic credits needed to graduate. I have a resume full of clubs, sports, honors, volunteer work and academic programs. I am more than qualified for a high school diploma. Although the district has decided that I’m not, because I haven’t walked enough circles in the school gymnasium with a bunch of teen nicotine addicts, meanwhile attending a school I average a seven mile walk in every day. 

The reasoning is teen health, in a system where mental health is ignored and state food is meant to fill your stomach instead of give nutrition, sometimes equivalent to dog food if I’m honest. All the while the cheapest food in this country is so unhealthy it’ll kill you over time, pharmaceutical companies would rather let people die than have them afford medication because it makes more money, people can’t afford to live, the military recruits people to die with the promise of affordable living knowing that, teenagers are killing their classmates with automatic weapons and addiction and teen suicide is at an all time high.  

Knowing this, required gym must be the obvious solution. 

Mandatory gym is the most worthless waste of time in all of high school. It prevents people from following their passions and studying their interests. It took away one the activities I care about the most. All for what? Apparently to lower obesity rates, that probably aren’t lowering and won’t be solved with exercise. Required gym needs to disappear from our school system. 

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