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Lodi Unified School District may reduce physical education requirement

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If comments by board members are any indication, it appears that student athletes in Lodi Unified School District may only have to participate in two afterschool sports per year in order to have their second year of physical education waived as a graduation requirement.

Although a vote wasn’t taken at Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting, it appears that trustees will adopt a two-sport requirement to have a second year of physical education waived at Lodi, Tokay, Bear Creek and McNair high schools.

Teachers, coaches, students and parents addressed the board Tuesday, most of them requesting the waiver of a second year of physical education The primary argument was that by waiving a regular physical education class, it allows student athletes to take another academic class.

Marena Henne, who serves on the advisory committee to recommend what the physical education requirement should be, said that an exemption would allow students to take an extra Advanced Placement or conflict management class that would enhance their chances of being accepted at a quality university. Henna’s daughter, Kylie, is a three-sport athlete at Tokay.

Currently, students must take two full years of traditional physical education, whether they play afterschool sports or not.

Julie Hummel, whose freshman son participates in two sports at Lodi High, also recommends allowing the waiver for two sports, because her son needs more academic class time.

However, Tokay physical education teacher and wrestling coach Rod Gaines said that when he was in high school, he wasn’t required to take physical education because he was on his school’s varsity football and wrestling teams. In the spring, he lifted weights for the following football and wrestling systems.

“I lost out by not being exposed to tennis and other sports (in traditional physical education classes),” Gaines said.

Dawn Vetica, assistant superintendent of secondary education, said that she will bring a proposal back to the board to formally approve for the 2013-14 school year. The proposal will be considered either at the April 16 or May 7 board meeting, Vetica said.

The proposal will most likely be to waive a second year of physical education for two-sport athletes because it seems to reflect the preference by a majority of the seven board members, Vetica said after the meeting.

Trustee Ruth Davis saw it differently.

“I don’t think we should decide,” Davis said. “The committee should decide.”

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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