Greater choice gender-segregates gym class

Gone are the days of boys and girls huddling together under multicolored parachutes, forming alliances in the cutthroat world of freeze tag, and sacrificing themselves for fellow minnows.  These epic displays of valor have ceased to exist beyond the doors of elementary school gyms.

Today, Staples’ physical education program inadvertently segregates classes by gender, according to members of the junior class.

This year, juniors can choose the majority of their day-to-day activities. As a result of this change, students say they have noticed that girls choose activities like yoga or badminton, while boys opt for basketball and dodgeball.

Starting goalie of the varsity lacrosse team Emma Boland ’15 says that even the most athletic girls in her class often choose the activity that involves less physical contact or effort. However, Boland said she does not think the gender segregation is bad “because people get to do what they like to do.”

This belief is shared by physical education teacher Nicole Ross, who said she personally hasn’t noticed any serious separation within her gym classes. “I’m indifferent to how it works out as long as the students choose the activity that they want to do. If they get to make their own choice, then hopefully they’ll be more willing to participate,” Ross said.

Others, however, feel as if the gender segregation is an issue.

Paige Murray ’15, who has committed to Virginia Tech for lacrosse, wishes that the gender segregation within her class did not exist.

“I’m perfectly capable of playing alongside the boys in my class. I really do wish both sexes participated in the same activities. I’m an athletic person yet feel as if I’m stuck doing yoga because I don’t want to be the only girl playing football,” Murray said.

Although gender segregation would not be an issue if both sexes were forced to participate in the same activities, members of the physical education department say they are happy with how the junior classes are performing. They have found increased participation from students who choose the activities they are most interested in, according to Ross.