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November 25, 2013

Some want marching band to count as PE

Indiana band members say it makes good sense

(Continued)

“We’d have to consider kids that play football, basketball and other sports, but I am certainly willing to look into it,” Fessler said.

Several years ago, when Fessler was an assistant principal at NPHS, he said, a committee discussed it but found too many obstacles and noted the district’s code-of-conduct policy for extracurricular activities was a stumbling block.

Pfaff said there are consequences for bad behavior, but troubled students are never in danger of losing a credit unless they are a repeat offender.

While state law requires high school physical education to be instructed by a licensed teacher, Eastern Hancock gets around that issue by allowing PE teachers to supervise students taking part in the flexible credit option.

“We do an evaluation halfway through the sport or season to make sure the students are meeting certain criteria,” Pfaff said.

Southern Hancock Superintendent Jim Halik said he’s concerned about giving special privileges to the music department. Only an estimated 60 to 70 students participate in band, out of 1,100 students in the school.

“When you make exceptions, you need to meet the needs of the majority of the students, not a minority,” Halik said.

Humphries surveyed high schools in Indiana and found more than 30 have opted for flexible credit.

“We found that there were many schools in Indiana that let kids get credit for PE through summer band, winter jazz and other things, and that’s what we want,” Humphries said.

Halik, who said PE is required by the state for a reason, plans to have his staff look further into the credit option.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the research they have done,” Fessler said.

Pfaff said his district feels certain high school students are getting the full physical-education experience through after-school participation, whether it be band or sports.

“The lessons of PE are expecting kids to do physical activities, learn about being part of a team and staying healthy,” Pfaff said.

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