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November 25, 2013

Some want marching band to count as PE

Indiana band members say it makes good sense

NEW PALESTINE, Ind. (AP) — For the past four years, New Palestine High School seniors Alec Moeller and Madison Garrity have spent many hot summer days — an estimated 1,000 hours’ worth — practicing as part of the school’s marching band.

The two longtime band members say it just makes good sense for students who spend so much time and physical effort in summer band to receive physical-education credit for their efforts.

A group of band parents recently took their case to the school board. The parents asked that their children — whose physical exertion arguably tops that in many gym classes — to be able to apply their participation in the extra-curricular activity to class credit for PE.

They argue the students would be freed to take other classes if their work in band counted toward PE requirements. That idea is endorsed in the one country district where the practice is allowed. But skeptics of the idea point to several factors — from legal questions to the precedent such a move would set — as reasons why it doesn’t work.

As far as students are concerned, however, it’s a no-brainer.

“I took summer gym and had marching band at the same time, and it was such a full day,” said Madison, who plays saxophone. “It was so exhausting to do that much physical activity, and at the time I thought, ‘Gym was just kind of pointless.’”

Alec said many students aren’t as athletically gifted as some and don’t perform well in PE class. They should have the option to earn a PE credit for summer marching band, he said. Those students get more than their fair share of physical activity, he added.

“Summer marching band is hard work,” Alec told the Daily Reporter.

Had he been able to earn PE credit for the many hours of lugging his tuba during summer band, Alec said he wouldn’t have had to take the required two PE classes. That would have freed his schedule to take extra music classes, which he loves.

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