Some high school seniors who play a varsity sport in Glenbard High School District 87 will still be able to opt out of physical education classes.
The district's existing PE waiver policy was set to expire at the end of the current school year at the urging of district administrators, who argued it gave some students an unfair advantage over others. Supporters of PE waivers included students and parents who said taking PE class prevents high achieving students from enrolling in additional academic courses that could look favorable on college entrance applications.
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But district officials said a so-called "reasonable compromise" was reached that will allow in-season varsity senior athletes who are enrolled in seven classes with no study hall to be eligible for waivers. The amended policy was approved unanimously by the school board Monday.
"The district is committed to physical education and health for all students for all four years, while allowing some relief for seniors who are athletes," Superintendent Dave Larson said in a memo to the school board. "The district is trying to comply with the spirit and intent of the law and not provide perks for select students."
Under the updated policy, principals at the four Glenbard high schools will also have the discretion to approve waivers for students that want to take a class required for admission to a college they are applying to, or to complete graduation requirements for high school.
Students who participate in two or more sports throughout the school year could get a waiver for both academic semesters, but those who only participate in one sports season would be required to attend PE classes the rest of the year, according to Rod Molek, the district's assistant superintendent for human resources and student services.
"This helps give seniors relief, and it's something that teachers and administrators can work with," Molek said. "I think it's something better than originally what we were proposing to our parents."
Board member Mary Ozog, a vocal supporter of the waivers, said Monday she was pleased about the compromise, though she has also suggested juniors be eligible.
About 100 seniors throughout the district applied for a PE waiver this year, Molek said.