Making student change for PE. Is it time to end this practice?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sarge, May 7, 2020.

  1. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    The other day, I was talking to my nephew who is transgender. He said that he is really liking online school mainly because he does not have to do traditional high school PE where kids dress out. He had been using the girls locker room, and that was triggering his gender dysphoria. He talked about different "solutions" the school had come up with, and none of them were very good. They either involved singling him out, or making him change where he felt uncomfortable.

    Then it hit upon both of us that the real issue is that the whole "dressing out" for PE is actually a rather antiquated notion. My guess is that high school PE, as most of us knew it, was basically designed to get students prepared for what they would experience in boot camp when they were eventually drafted into the army. Also, it was developed during a time when students dressed differently for school. You couldn't wear sweats, sneakers, etc. and "street clothes" meant dress shoes and slacks or skirts.

    That has all changed. A school could easily write into its dress code that students needed to dress in a manner that would not preclude physical activities like running and jumping. And the whole "they get all sweaty and smelly" thing is really not an issue if students have good basic hygiene outside of school.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I disagree. I feel that kids at any age should be able to wear nicer clothes to school and then change out for appropriate attire to get sweaty and be comfortable moving.
    Even if they wear clothes that allow them to move freely, I don't support them to sit through the rest of the day feeling sweaty and stinky. Some kids sweat more and will smell worse and this will make them feel more uncomfortable and self conscious. During the middle school year this is probably at its worse and during this time it is that kids have all kinds of emotional issues, not feeling good enough, overemphasizing their own issues, feeling the least confident and they don't need this. this is the time when kids have trouble with body image and when a lot of bullying happens. And t doesn't matter how great basic hygiene they have outside of school, if a kid will sweat excessively and have an odor when exercising, they can't help that.
    So my answer is no.
     
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  4. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Our school offers many options for students who don't want to take a traditional PE course, or do a school sport or spirit group. First, ROTC and Band both fulfil a PE requirement. Students also have the option of off campus PE. Some students take private tennis or golf lessons, some do exercise classes at a gym or work out with a trainer. Some take dance or yoga classes. Some just go to a gym and workout. They have to provide their own transportation, but some students schedule that for a 0 or 8 period course, and do it before or after school, allowing them to take additional AP courses or work in the office for a period.

    I do think it's important to give students the option to dress out for PE. It's part of their grade, and there are strict rules about what kind of shoes and clothes can be worn on what playing surfaces for the safety of the student and the school property. Our transgender students change in one of the gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.
     
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  5. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Do you go jogging/playing sports/do the gym in jeans? No? Then why do you think students would either? If you as an adult go to the gym, you change your clothes into something comfortable for working out. So why shouldn’t students?

    There’s better solutions for trans students so that they can participate in a manner that they’re comfortable with. You don’t do away with all the stairs in a building so that people in wheelchairs have access. You build in access along with the stairs.
     
  6. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Sorry, but am going to disagree with you. I don't specifically know what would be a good way to address the issue of changing for transgender students. However, i disagree with you on some of the other points you bring up. First of all, it has been a long time since the point of phy ed was preparation for the military. My dad was a career phy ed teacher, and from what I remember, that ship sailed sometime in the early 1970s when the focus shifted to lifetime activities.

    Additionally, I don't think it is fair to anyone to require them to wear stinky or sweaty clothes throughout the day. Merely having good hygiene outside of school can't cover up those smells for some students.
     
  7. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I, like the other respondents, respectfully disagree with you.

    I think you’re suggestion is not practical or necessary.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    No. That is not the real issue.
    Unless a school is going to abandon anything that involves changing clothing, including sports, the issue will remain.

    As long as there is PE, expect that schools will require kids to change into PE type clothing whether that be uniforms or shorts, t-shirt, socks, and PE appropriate footwear. Sweating and staying in the sweat clothing all day is not appropriate. Having to police what the kids wear to each class is also not something we should expect the school to have to do. No uniform - no credit.
     
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  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I think it should be optional to change for PE. I can tell you that it bothers a whole lot more students than just transgender. That I think is the best option.

    My second option is that there is only a PE shirt and not shorts. Boys can change shirts and slap on some deodorant and feel just fine. Girls, I'd rather they don't have to change at all, but I am guessing some would rather just change a shirt, then have to change tops and bottoms. That would take care of the "stink" issue for the most part.
     
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  10. Aces

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    From an admin perspective, one of the first things that is going to be said is that we can’t have double standards.
     
  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Understood.

    No double standards..no one has to change period
    OR
    There is a PE shirt...that is what all students change into. One for the boys and one for the girls in the appropriate size.

    No double standards.
     
  12. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    It also raises the question/issue of do we expect students to participate in pe activities wearing jeans?
     
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  13. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Our students aren't allowed to wear sweat pants or athletic shorts at school outside of PE/athletic periods (though that part of the dress code is often overlooked.) It's simply not safe to have students participating in athletics in clothes that are not appropriate for those activities.
     
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  14. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    You bring up a good point.

    What one middle school did to handle this issue is students had to come to school in PE clothes, but had the option of changing later. It worked out well, although a few students didn't smell the best after PE on hot days. Teachers didn't mind too much. One teacher told me "Air freshener works wonders"

    Something that might work better is that students come in PE clothes, but must change at least their shirt after PE. No PE shirts allowed after PE. This would better handle the smell problem.
     
  15. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Yeah. The only thing I take issue with on that is I live in a come climate. I can’t imagine mandating students come to school in pe clothes with snow on the ground because of the shorts. I’d rather give the option of trying to make changing a bit more flexible.
     
  16. otterpop

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    I think dressing down is important. I wouldn’t work out in normal street clothes and you can’t expect everyone to wear sweats every day. Also, kids get smelly. I do think there should be private dressing rooms or stalls available though.
     
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  17. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I sweat a lot when I workout. When I was younger—same story. I liked the fact that I had separate PE clothes that I changed into and took home to wash each Friday. At the end of PE, I changed back into my regular clothes and reapplied deodorant. I would not have wanted to wear the same stinky clothes all day long. Gross.
     
  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Separate stalls are an excellent idea.
     
  19. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    That’s how ours are set up. There’s a common locker room area and then private stalls for students to change in if they prefer. Then the showers are all divided private stalls. Although I don’t think the showers get used often except maybe the sports teams.
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I think most schools are set up this way, no?
     
  21. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    At the high school I was at last year, in the field house (gym) there were open locker rooms and divided showers. But at the football field club house (where most of the sports were played) were open showers/locker rooms.
     
  22. otterpop

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    My middle school and high school weren’t. We did have shower stall dividers you could duck behind if needed but no real planned-for privacy.
     
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  23. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Allot of it depends on how old the school and facilities are, too.
     
  24. Ima Teacher

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    I never had to dress out for PE class. (My only PE years were 76 to 84.) In elementary school, we worse whatever we wanted, even shoes didn’t matter. In middle school there were not locker rooms. In high school there was a locker room, and we could change. I only did if I really had to, like if I had worn a dress. The only requirement was to wear appropriate athletic shoes.

    My mom failed PE class because her parents would not allow her to wear shorts, which were required for class. She couldn’t participate without dressing out.

    That’s the same now. Kids have to wear athletic shoes. Otherwise, they just have to be able to participate.
     
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  25. catnfiddle

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    The issue of parity for transgender students in changing room situations (this includes for school plays and other situations). The PE class could possibly be swapped out with paper and pencil kinesthiology coursework. It's an interesting question I'm probably going to pose to my trans / fluid / non-bianary friends.
     
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  26. MissCeliaB

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    The options at our school seem to work. Our trans/fluid/enby students can earn PE credit the following ways, which do not require dressing in a locker room: band, ROTC, off-campus individual PE. Students who wish to be in a spirit group, sports team, or traditional PE, but do not feel safe dressing in a locker room can request to change in one of the gender-neutral bathrooms on campus (there are 10 that I can think of off the top of my head, but as they are also designated faculty and handicapped restrooms, there is one on each floor designated for students, so still 4.) We have had gender fluid students on flagline and cheer, which count as PE credits. We've had LGBTQ+ students play every major sport I can think of.

    You only need 1.5 PE credits to graduate, so it's pretty easy to get them without having to stick a kid in a classroom or on a computer to study kinesiology.
     
  27. Mr.history

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    Middle schoolers stink most of the time anyway. Even after they change clothes in gym I always make an afternoon pot of dark roast coffee so my classroom smells like a starbucks instead of like them.
     
  28. Backroads

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    Have yet to read the other responses...
    I don't think it should be prohibited.
    • There's enough drama over school dress codes without making it "PE appropriate" on top of all the other quibbles.
    • It speaks of privilege to assume all students have "athleisure" clothing, or clothing that is comfortable enough to be worn during the day and be appropriate for PE.
    • It would limit what could be done in PE class. So much interesting PE curriculum needs more than comfy jeans and sneakers.
    • Potential religious/culture issues? Students who might be able to change for PE class may still prefer to dress according to their religion/culture (that may not be appropriate for PE class) the rest of the day.
    • How would you keep it equitable for all students? Students who for physical reasons need to wear certain clothes. Students who may have a disorder that cause more sweat than usual.
     
  29. whizkid

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    [​IMG]
     
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  30. futuremathsprof

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    Hahahahaha!
     
  31. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I talked about this scenario with a few of my friends. Your nephew's suggestion of wearing clothes that allow movement and don't require changing (except maybe shoes) is a valid one. The biggest question is whether your nephew feels empowered to self-advocate or may need help from an adult. There are a lot of resources available to help him if and when he chooses to go in this direction.
     
  32. Backroads

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    I remember when I was in high school, these alternatives could be requested by any student. Now I'm curious (at your school, my alma mater, and any other schools) if it's still a general option or only limited to trans/fluid students.
     
  33. TeacherNY

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    I have never heard of alternatives in the schools I worked in but I think they would have to be offered to any student so it would be fair for all.
     
  34. MissCeliaB

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    Available to all students. In fact, during registration, there were regular announcements about off-campus PE forms being due. When counselors go over registration with students, they go over all of the options for earning required PE credits.

    The gender-neutral restrooms are only available to students who request them, because we are a campus with almost 2000 people, and only so many restrooms. Those restrooms are kept locked, and students and faculty are issued a key as needed.
     
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