Student Athletes Should be Excused from Gym


Photo by Cate Heverin

Despite what some may believe, the concept of having gym class makes sense. Currently, The United States ranks as the eighth fattest country in the world, with 72.1% of the population being considered overweight. Due to the rate of obesity that plagues our country, especially the amount of people who are children under eighteen, American schools hold mandatory gym classes to keep students active, as early as elementary school.

Despite this, many high schools throughout the country have decided that athletes who play a sport after school do not have to take gym during school, and instead, are able to use the time as a study hall.

However, at Pascack Hills, athletes do not have the option to not take gym, even if they spend hours after school practicing for their respective sport. Instead, all students have to take a mandatory gym class for all four years in order to graduate.

Junior Sophie Donofrio says, “I think gym is good to keep kids active, but I don’t think it is necessary. We are at an age where we should be able to make our own decisions.”

Gym should be optional, but only if a student plays a sport, whether it be JV or Varsity. Due to the fact that student athletes spend about two hours, and for some, even more, after school playing a sport, they clearly get more than enough of the exercise for the day. Furthermore, since practice takes time away from homework hours, people who have sports should be given the option of study hall when it comes to scheduling.

Personally, I believe if America wants to reduce child obesity, a lot more needs to be done than tossing a volleyball over a net for forty minutes a day. Reducing obesity has a lot more to do with than just being active. In fact, having a good diet is far more important for keeping a healthy weight – exercise does not burn as many calories as one may think. Yet, most American schools continue to sell unhealthy, fried foods, which defeats the purpose of holding mandatory gym classes if schools are trying to encourage kids to stay healthy.

Most students agreed that there should be some sort of exemption from gym, but many disagree on the logistics of it.

Another Junior, who asked to remain anonymous, states, “Active students who play sports, especially year round, should be excused from gym  long as they have a varsity letter or a form signed by their coach so athletes can have more time to focus on academics.”

Despite what most students say, Hills student Kimmy Shannon believes, “Even if you aren’t an athlete on a school sports team, but you work out after school, then you should be allowed to not take gym.”

Although students may disagree on the level of sport one must participate in to be exempt from gym, most agree that there should be some sort of optional exemption available.