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Lily

Writer's Block: Sweat it out

Should physical education in schools be mandatory, and why?

I never answer these things - but there's always a first time...!

My answer is, No, unless they are very careful about screening children to find out what is physically appropriate for each individual child to do.

I broke a bone in my right foot in high school P.E. class doing jumping jacks, an exercise that a podiatrist told me that I should never have done, due to the bone structure of my legs. I also experienced other injuries to my feet in high school P.E. class, due to the same cause. I've had nothing but problems with my feet ever since then. And, some physical therapy I had in recent years made certain problems worse.

Now, it's been ages since I've been in high school. I have no idea what is standard these days, and how much attention is paid to physical differences in individual children. Do modern school staff members have enough expertise to recognize that some students may experience long term physical complications from certain exercises?

Comments

In a word - no. My daughter has a vision disability so what does her gym teacher do?? Makes her remove her glasses, put on a hockey mask, and play goalie for the floor hockey team. In her eight years of school, rarely have I been so fucking angry!

Oh, and HUGS
Oh that *sucks*! I'm so sorry. I didn't have high hopes that things had improved between then and now, and that just proves it.

HUGS back!
I was very lucky with my PE instructor. When I told her I couldn't jump over things (because of depth perception problems) that was that, no hurdles for me. When we did gymnastics, those of us who were less adept were gentled through. Even at square-dancing, it was fine that I couldn't skip.

(Skipping is a weird thing for me; first I couldn't skip, then for a while I could, and then by freshman year of high school, I couldn't. My mother tried to teach me again and I fell down!)

But the whole atmosphere was that not everybody was adept, and those who were would help those who weren't, and we were all in this together. It was really quite a pleasant experience.

And I know how uncommon that is, so until the idea that that's how it should be becomes commonplace, my answer would be no.
I developed extremely painful shin splints in high school, after taking several semesters of folk dance on a floor that consisted of linoleum over unpadded concrete. Not fun. Granted I'm from the same time period as you so cannot speak to the modern usage.

I suspect that lawsuits do motivate a certain increase in caution, but most schools are terminally underfunded, so who knows how good they are at it. Ten years ago I worked at an elementary school for a while and they were moderately careful, at least with regard to keeping track of allergies/respiratory, etc., issues of various students...
Argh - yes, those concrete floors. Lots of long term damage there.

Yes, I was thinking the underfunding probably keeps these issues from being addressed. I'm glad that school you worked at kept track of allergy/asthma issues - a good start.