Miscommunication leads to denial of PE waivers


Esther Cho

The clock is ticking: Students are tested on the mile run asa part of the physical fitness test that all studentsmust pass in order to receive a waiver.

Amber Buhagiar, Editor-in-Chief & Entertainment Editor

Students will do anything to get out of class— especially P.E. This year students had the choice to opt out of P.E. by competing in two sports during the school year. Submitting a contract in May 2013, students committed to two sports they planned to participate during the following 2013-2014 school year. However, one area of the contract has caused some students to be denied the exemption.

“I didn’t pass the physical fitness test,” junior Isabel Rodriguez said.

The California FITNESSGRAM, developed in 1996, evaluates performance in different fitness areas whose criteria identify a level of fitness that offers defense against diseases due to physical inactivity. The test is administered annually to students in grades five, seven, and nine.

The six fitness areas of the test include aerobic capacity, abdominal strength and endurance, upper body strength, body composition, trunk extensor strength, and flexibility. As part of the contract, students must pass five of the six components of the physical fitness test, which is verified by the student’s counselor.

P.E. teacher Corina Ayala says that the fitness test is usually administered between January and February. However, Rodriguez says that it wasn’t a matter of not passing her fitness test, but that she was absent on the day that the test was administered and therefore received a zero. She said she didn’t know that she didn’t pass the test until this school year because she was unaware that she hadn’t taken it.

“They [P.E. teachers] were supposed to administer the test to me at a different time because of the absence, but they didn’t,” Rodriguez said. “I asked if I could make up [the test] and they said no because I wasn’t a freshman. The school should have notified me my freshman year, but instead I’m notified over a year and a half later.”

“There will be make-ups if the student is absent,” Ayala said. “The results aren’t sent until May in order to give students enough time make up the test. If they [students] can’t make up it up, that’s their fault.”

In May, 67 students applied for the P.E. waiver. Of the 67, 19 students were not approved. Because counselors must verify that students passed the fitness test, some are wondering why counselors did not contact students sooner.

“I do not recall being told to notify students at the beginning of the year if they had passed or failed,” counselor Ivan Tunnell said. “I just assumed the kids would come in to check if they had passed.”

Students who did not pass the test were informed in late November just before Thanksgiving break.

“Students were notified after the three weeks,” Vice Principal Sera Baysinger confirmed, referring to the three week grace period students are given

at the beginning of each semester to transfer and drop classes. “That was our error. We didn’t notify them in a timely manner.”

To compensate for the students who had competed in at least one sport, Basinger proposed a solution by offering the 19 students the choice to complete an independent studies course in P.E. Because the independent studies course is only worth five credits, students have to consider other options in order to complete the 10 credit requirement. As a result, Rodriguez is concurrently taking zero period P.E. in addition to completing the independent study course.

“We didn’t want the students to be accountable for something that was out of their control,” Baysinger said.

Though Rodriguez will not have to take P.E. during her senior year since the independent study course was offered to her, she says that she does not believe it’s a fair compromise.

“I’m in my junior year of high school, which is considered one of the most stressful,” Rodriguez said. “I take AP courses and as class president, I have the responsibility of planning prom along with a number of duties. If anything, it just adds more stress on me.”

Baysinger is hopeful that in future years, this type of miscommunication will be prevented.

“I hope that no one else has to go through this during their junior year,” Rodriguez said. “It sucks having to scramble for something as easy as P.E. credits.”