As of the second quarter of the 2017-2018 school year, all students participating in physical education classes are required to change from their normal school clothes into workout attire. In the previous quarter, teachers required all students to at least wear sneakers in order for them to participate in gym activities.
While many students may be thrown off by this new rule, gym teacher Jen Mitteness believes that the new requirement is beneficial. “If you go to any fitness facility outside of Staples High School, such as The Edge, kickboxing, Crossfit or yoga, you are expected to wear appropriate clothing to participate in physical activity,” Mitteness said. “PE should be no different from any of these facilities.”
Physical education teacher, Marcellino Petroccio explained that after long discussions the department decided this requirement was necessary. “It was something we thought had to be a rule across the board for all teachers, otherwise it gets grey and messy,” Petroccio said.
Patricio Perez Elorza ’20 believes that the previous varying requirements from gym teachers could be unfair. “My teacher is strict; if I don’t change, I get points taken off,” Elorza said.
This new requirement for gym classes stems from several concerns. Christine Wanner, the head of the physical education department, identified that the primary concern was lack of effort that stemmed from a students refraining from changing clothes. “If you’re wearing nice clothes and you have PE class, and there’s no accountability to change, why would you work hard?” Wanner explained.
In addition to a lack of effort, there are concerns about safety. Teachers believe that when students wear everyday clothing to class they put themselves in greater danger of injury. “As a PE teacher, safety is one of my top concerns,” Mitteness explained. “If a student is wearing jeans to a Yoga class, it is going to be difficult for them to perform all the movements correctly.”
Despite reasons for enforcing this rule, there is some expected resistance from students. “Anytime you do something new it takes a little bit of time for implementation and for people to get comfortable with it, and then it works,” Wanner said. “I think it’s a matter of sticking with it.”
While Wanner hasn’t heard of many complaints from students thus far, Preston Rainey ’21 has witnessed that some kids are simply unwilling to change, and therefore, won’t take the time to do so. Rainey also believes that whether kids change for class largely “depends on the teacher and how strict they are about [needing to change].”
Mili Cattan ’19 agrees that although students may be hesitant and question the new implementation, the consequence of students’ grades being affected might make them more inclined to follow the rule. “It seems like most students will do anything to protect their grades, so I don’t expect there to be too many issues,” Cattan said.