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Chadwick School - 26800 S Academy Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA - (310) 377-1543

Opinions

Volume 65 Number 1

All Students Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others

by Madeline Bogert and Jake Goldstein - 2014-10-09


It was a hot Tuesday afternoon; PE had just ended, and we were walking back up to our cars when we thought of the essential question for our AP Gov unit: “What is the best way to create a just society?” “Hmm,” we discussed, “To what extent does the current athletic policy promote a just society at Chadwick?” We’d like you, our readers, to seriously consider this question. Let’s begin looking at the issue through the lens of several Core Values.

RESPECT

Chadwick’s forcing certain students to dedicate less time to activities they actually enjoy and have greater skill in, demonstrates a lack of respect for who these students are as individuals. “Theater attempts to work around the sports schedule, but students are put in a difficult position because due to the extensive requirements, sports automatically become a priority,” Sophomore Emma Taulli said.

This year, the athletic policy became even more disrespectful and oppressive toward students interested in performing arts. Without consulting a single student, the administration decided that it would no longer grant precious PE credit to students in the Musical.

This is entirely unjust.

Zorro rehearsals are Monday through Friday for an hour and forty-five minutes each day: this means that members of the Zorro cast spend almost nine hours a week (in rehearsals alone) dancing. Members of Chadwick’s Dance Teams receive athletic credit, so exercising as part of Zorro should warrant credit as well. Students who spend nine hours a week exercising are sufficiently physically fit; they should not have to spend two and a half more hours halfheartedly playing Sharks and Minnows while wearing the same PE uniforms as sixth graders.

Regardless of the amount of exercise students in Zorro get, these unbending policies are still inherently disrespectful. They tell certain students that their genuine passion for non-athletic activities is not as important as the apathy they would show as members of a sports or PE team. The athletic department is disrespectfully attempting to force students to conform to interests that aren’t their own--something the diverse Chadwick administration and community condemns in theory yet clearly condones in practice.

RESPONSIBILITY

Placing high school students under constant supervision and mandating when, where, and how long they must exercise not only strips them of the independence they formerly, rightfully had, but also it undermines the Chadwick’s culture of mutual trust between students and faculty.

FAIRNESS

Chadwick teachers and administrators value the diversity of the Chadwick community: “Our students are all different. They all have different strengths and weaknesses.” Yet if this is true, why are some students forced to participate in athletic activities that do not interest or come easily to them while students who enjoy sports are never forced (in the Upper School) to do the Winter Musical, Chorus, AP Ceramics, Yearbook, or Robotics? “But, Jake and Maddie, their is lyke totez an artz requiremint two!!!” Yes, there is, but Chadwick’s arts requirement expects significantly less time and effort from the students: it is possible to earn the minimum 15 arts credits in freshman year alone. This discrepancy in the treatment of Chadwick students by the faculty shows a blatant lack of fairness and compassion.

Schools are academic, not athletic, institutions. If we wanted to be told which exercise routines to do for how long, we would have joined one of our sports teams, a spinning class, or the YMCA. With all due respect, we find all the logic we’ve heard to support Chadwick’s athletic policy to be absurd. Chadwick students often juggle multiple AP/Honors classes, sports, extra curricular activities, SAT/ACT prep, college applications (for seniors), all while trying to maintain a social life. It is hypocritical and unjust for administrators--who should protect and support students’ real interests--to tell this student, “The last thing we want is for you to overload yourself. Oh and by the way, if you want to walk away from this school with a diploma, you’re going to have to give up some of your homework, studying, social, and/or extracurricular time to do jumping jacks.”

As seniors at this school, we have the same degree of athletic autonomy as we did in 7th grade. Many of us are 18 years old. We can drive a car, buy cigarettes, vote for public office, and risk our life serving in the military. Quite frankly, given that federal law finds us mature enough to do these things, it’s ludicrous this school’s paternalistic athletic department insists that we need to do frog hops and buttkicks for fifty minutes three times a week to be physically fit. We have no problem with fitness, but forcing students to play Capture the Flag instead of having the freedom they deserve to run laps on the track and actually exercise is condescending and unnecessary.

Last year the PE requirement with Coach Farzley was to complete 22 forty-minute exercise sessions. During these sessions, we could work out in the weight room, run laps around the track, jump rope, etc. as long as Coach Farzley approved. This year, however, students in PE must do three fifty-minute sessions per week, which not only exceeds last year’s requirement but also the minimum requirements of many other local high schools--both private and public--which allow students to finish their PE requirements within their first two years of high school.

We think that Chadwick students, given how diverse their range of talents is, should only have to complete the current PE requirement during their freshmen and sophomore year. If the Chadwick administration truly wishes to create fair, responsible, and respectful community, it should implement our suggested policy and give its students the dignity they deserve.


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Article Keywords:

zorro, chadwick, athletic, policy, activities, sports, year, student, credit, hour, week, exercise, school, requirement, give


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