Students Should Earn PE Credit for Playing School Sports

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Anna Bouchard, Writer

Imagine walking into Bellows Free Academy’s gym: teenagers are everywhere, the smell of sweat clings to the air and students are working hard, or at least pretending to to win whatever game they’re playing that day. Whether students love it or hate it, BFA students have to take 1.5 credits of physical education to graduate. While PE is not the only graduation requirement, I am left to wonder if it cannot be earned in other ways. If students are engaging in their school’s sports teams, it is reasonable that they should receive PE credit for their efforts. 

Don’t get me wrong, PE does have its benefits. According to Magnus Health, students in PE have better self-discipline, peer relationships and goal-setting compared to those that don’t, not to mention that PE gives students a set time devoted to improving their physical health. But doesn’t playing a sport improve these exact same traits? When you play a high school sport, hours of time are devoted to refining one’s skills and working with coaches and teammates. 

That being said, there is one benefit to PE that school sports cannot provide to its players: the chance to try a variety of sports for free. Throughout a PE course, students are given access to everything from geocaching to broomball to archery, giving students ample opportunity to find sports that they enjoy or want to continue playing outside of class. Students should get the opportunity to try new activities, but is repeating the same class three times necessary? If students were required to take one PE class to graduate, but receive the rest of their PE credits from sports, then students would get the best of both worlds. They get to explore new sports and interests through PE while earning credit from the sport that they love doing.

Allowing students to earn PE credit would also allow them to take more classes that interest them. While some people love the excitement of PE, other students would rather take an art class, a study hall, a tech center class or any other class that would otherwise have been replaced with a PE class. If student-athletes received credit for their sports, they would have more flexibility to take the classes that are engaging and enjoyable to them, not just the ones that are required to graduate. 

If students were required to only take one semester of PE and given the opportunity to earn the other credit through playing sports, students would receive the benefits of both activities while having more flexibility in their school schedule to explore classes that interest them. With high school students facing a stressful period in their lives, any amount of flexibility and freedom can help take the pressure off of teens. So let us give our student-athletes a hand by allowing them to receive credit for all of their hard work.