New Gym Requirements


Brooke Timmerman

As Torch reported this June ( students at Kennedy High School will be experiencing changes in gym requirements.

There are two major changes in the requirements; the first being that students are only allowed one sports waiver a year, the second, and lesser known change, is that all students, including seniors, may only use one academic waiver per year.

Academic waivers may be used if students have a full class load. Sports waivers can be utilized if students are participating in what the counselor’s gym requirement sheet calls an organized athletic program. PSEO/Academy waivers are only for seniors who are taking Kirkwood classes, PSEO classes, or other classes that require them to leave campus during the school day.

“Students have been confused about PE forever,” school counselor Rachel Collins said. “It used to be you could use one sports waiver, which was a true waiver, and then you could go out for up to two more sports and get credit for them.”

The changes come after the school was told they needed to make changes to the requirements because they were out of compliance with state law. “There is nothing we can do about it. The state has now told us that they can come into our school at any given minute, of any given day, pull our records, and make sure that we are in compliance,” Collins said.

The school had to add after school PE because they did not have enough space. “We’re saying to them ‘you must take PE’ and then they sign up for PE and then there’s not enough room in PE classes because we have 1800 students,” Collins said.

Not all students are happy about the change in requirements. Kirsten Siebenga, jr., is frustrated about the change in requirements. Siebenga participates in swimming, track, club swimming in Iowa City, and CrossFit. Siebenga had planned on taking art classes this year and next but was unable to.

“The new gym requirements made me have to take a zero hour which filled the spot I was going to take the art classes in,” Siebenga said.

Siebenga believes there should be waivers for activities that students participate in outside of school.

“CrossFit and club swimming would definitely be equal to above what you would do in a gym class here,” Siebenga said.

Siebenga asks that they rethink the gym requirements because they are “not fair to someone who is really active.”