P.E. dress code is unreasonable

By Peter Conway
Staff Writer

Students should not be required to change for physical education class. Every time a student fails to change into athletic apparel, their grade is affected tremendously. Not wearing sneakers counts as a zero and not wearing athletic pants counts as half credit for the day, and all of this is part of 75% of the student’s grade. The PE & Wellness grading guidelines claim that it is because it demonstrates how prepared one is for the class.

However, a student’s preparation should not be judged by the clothes they wear to class. One doesn’t need to wear athletic shorts to run, jump, or shoot a basketball. Yes, it may be more comfortable, but it is not actually going to impact the students ability. The students should be graded on the effort they put forward during the class because that seems like the only way to fairly assess someone in a physical activity.

In my four years at Westford Academy, I have showed up to class several times in khaki’s and competed just as I would have in any other type of clothing. It only impacted me in a slight way: causing me to sweat more easily, but that was my own personal decision and I didn’t mind.

When I am in physical education and I put in more effort than all the other kids in class, and then get a worse grade than the people who simply change into shorts, then what’s the point of trying? It slows down the class and makes everyone care less. Some students can stand around all class and get a 100% and then someone who gives their all and doesn’t change gets a 75%. It doesn’t quite make sense to me.

All other classes grade their students largely on their effort. I don’t think it makers much sense to change that for 50 minutes of physical education.

Sure, other classes grade on preparation, but they focus on things that students actually need to participate; such as a calculator or a textbook.

The typical clothing for physical education.
The typical clothing expected for physical education.

I am not the only student that has been frustrated with the rules of the class. Many students have been taken off the honor roll for the sake of not changing for a class. They can expend all their efforts in every class only to be shut down because they didn’t change before a class that they actually tried in.

The dress code should be implemented within reason. It should depend on the activity. Basketball, floor hockey, and soccer are all activities that ask for full on movement. However, golf, ping pong, archery, and fitness walking are activities that can all be done in everyday clothing.

Golf is one activity in particular that has it mixed up. Professional golf requires the player wear respectable clothing such as khakis and collared shirts, but in school we are expected to change into athletic apparel. A grade could be impacted negatively for following the sport’s correct dress code. Do the teachers think this is reasonable?

The interesting part about the idea of the students’ dress code is that the teachers don’t abide by the same expectations. Teachers come to class in their khaki pants and collared shirts, and then turn around and tell the students they have to wear sweats, even though the teachers participate in the activities too.

Teachers are required to teach students particular skills, and sometimes take part in a game. If they can do the activity in their regular  clothes, it should not be necessary for students to change for the class if they do not feel they need to.

Many students understand that it is vital to be able to move safely and freely. The students only request that when being graded that it is done with fair reasoning from the teachers.

Either way, what I wear to class should be a personal decision, and teachers shouldn’t have any say in my sense of style. If a student feels that they are going to get sweaty, then maybe they should change for class. But once again, that’s our choice.