The School Newspaper of Franklin High School


The School Newspaper of Franklin High School


The School Newspaper of Franklin High School


While Nation Struggles with Teen Obesity, FHS Decided to Reduce Physical Education

For many years in Franklin High School, students were taking Physical Education inside the school.

In fact, it is the Massachusetts law that all students from K-12 are required to take Physical Education.

However, Franklin has made changes to its curriculum that has greatly reduced Physical Education in the school.

Because of the town budgets cuts, there was a huge reduction of Physical Education budget and staff.

In order to limit class size in Physical Education classes, FHS has provided a choice to its students of either to take Physical Education inside school or outside school.

For those students, who chose to take Physical Education inside school, they get to attend gym once in every 7 day rotation.

FHS students, who chose Physical Education outside of school, are required to take a class directed by an instructor or participating in  a sport in school.

The requirements are 30 hours of instruction backed by a signature from the instructor at the gym for the year. By the end of that year, the student is required to turn those signatures to his/her guidance councilor.

Sounds simple. Ha! not so fast. So where is the problem? Mrs. McVay, Head of FHS Guidance department said:

“The students, who are taking Physical Education out side of school, we cannot be sure if 100% of them are actually going to the gym. Some students get their 30 signatures done from attending a class at the gym and others might have their parents give them the required 30 signatures. We just cannot be sure which is which.”

FHS’ New Physical Education system of not making Physical Education as a requirement for every student to take it in school does not help the fight against teen obesity in the U.S.

The National Center for Health Statics shows that in 2008, there were more than 1/3 of children and adolescents were over weight or obese.

In 1980 7% of children 6-11yrs in the U.S were obese or over weight. That Number increased by 13% from 1980-2008. Around the same time, the number of adolescents 12-19yrs, who were obese or over weight  has increased from 5%-18%.

The National Diabetes Education Program, reports that growing number of teens in America are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes largely due to being obese or over weight.

Obesity causes over a $100-billion in Heath Care coasts in America today.

The statics show that this is because of the decrease number of teens who stay active and not abusing junk foods.

I asked Mrs. McVay, what procedures does she take to assure the signatures? She replied

“We can call the instructors but since many students are taking Physical Education out side of school, it becomes too much paper work”.

Ms. Cerce, the Head of Physical Education Department at FHS added

“I am only in charge of the students who chose taking Physical Education inside school, for those out side of school, I have no control over them to make sure if they gym and stay active as they school”.

Mr. Mac, FHS Physical Education teacher added

“The out side school PE system is very easy to be manipulated”.

However, not everybody in FHS disagrees with the new Physical Education system. In fact Mr. Light, FHS Principal for three years says

“Because of the budget cuts, this is the best system for Physical Education”.

He also added

“With this system students are able to take Physical Education classes that FHS can not provide to its’ students. Students did not like the idea of have to change to gym close and the idea of sweating. Especially girls, after, Physical Education they cannot use the showers in the locker room because the showers are very old and very dirty”.

In terms of the Physical Education Law of Massachusetts, Mr. Light commented that

“The law does not state that the students must take  Physical Education in side school. The students are required to do any sort of activity, not necessarily in school, to keep them in shape”.

Hassan Rashid, a senior at FHS says

“I love this new Physical Education system. In stead of taking  Physical Education in side school, I can use the period as a direct study and get to take score after school”.

Although, Emily Kanadanin, also a senior at FHS, disagree with Rashid by stating

“I don’t mind taking PE in school. I find it fun and beneficial”.

Ms. Miller, a parent in Franklin whose children attend Franklin Public Schools and also a teacher at FHS, said,

“There is a lot more to Physical Education than getting exercise for the day. Physical Education in school in a time for students to show their strengths and shine to what they are great at”.

I asked Ms. Miller what could be done differently about Physical Education in schools at times of budget cuts like this. She answered that

“PE needs to stay consistent in schools. Not each time there is a budget cut, Physical Education should target”.

Mr. Mac, FHS Physical Education teacher concluded

“It will be nice if we could go back to how Physical Education used to be in FHS, not necessarily every day but at least we would be sure that the students are staying active. The Heath Classes are very important, they help the students to learn about living healthy and supporting their well being”.