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November 25, 2013

Some want marching band to count as PE

Indiana band members say it makes good sense

(Continued)

Greenfield-Central High School Principal Steve Bryant said the school researched the issue several years ago but opted against the credit flexibility option for PE because of legal concerns.

“We don’t allow any sport or anything where there is a lot of physical activity to count for credit,” Bryant said. “We were told by our legal counsel because we charge a participation fee, they advised against it.”

The thinking is accessibility to class credit should not be based on extra fees because not everyone can afford them.

While Southern Hancock does not charge a participation fee for band, members do pay transportation costs and pay for other expenses throughout the year.

Pfaff said Eastern Hancock also charges a transportation fee to students who participate in sports and band but has encountered no legal issues.

“We’ve made it so no one is denied a chance to take part if they can’t pay for it,” Pfaff said.

Regardless of the hours some students dedicate to band or an afterschool sport, Mount Vernon High School Principal Bernie Campbell is against the idea of letting any extra-curricular activity count for high school PE credit.

“There are way too many health concerns for kids nowadays, and we need to stay on top of that,” Campbell said. “I’ve looked at the PE curriculum, and not only does it require a certain number of activity hours, it also requires many hours of study and education.”

Allowing students to earn PE credit for something they chose to do such as band or football also minimizes the efforts of highly trained, licensed PE teachers, Campbell said.

New Palestine High School Principal Keith Fessler said a curriculum committee composed of Southern Hancock educators would need to recommend the flexible credit option.

One of the big questions, he said, is determining whether band students should be the only ones to have the flexible-credit option.

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