Dush Legislation Would Make Gym Class Optional for PA Student Athletes

HARRISBURG – Sponsored by Sen. Cris Dush (R-25), legislation to allow Pennsylvania student athletes to fulfill physical education (PE) requirements through participation in interscholastic sports (Senate Bill 454), was advanced by the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday.

“This important legislation would clearly give school districts the flexibility to substitute participation in student athletics for physical education,” said Dush. “As a state representative, I was originally inspired to sponsor this bill by a student athlete, Levi Roseman, who was enrolled at Brookville High School. Levi participated in cross-country, indoor track, outdoor track, and golf.  He graduated as a salutatorian but could not complete as many advanced placement courses as he would have liked because of the PE requirement.”

Roseman is now a graduate of Dartmouth College, an Ivy League school in New Hampshire, where he was also a multi-sport student athlete.

Under current law, high school students who participate in varsity sports may be required to take physical education classes. These students are involved in strenuous activities that meet the intent of keeping students fit and active, as well as developing a sense of sportsmanship and camaraderie, which required PE courses are meant to foster.

Senate Bill 454 would enable school board directors to permit students to satisfy PE requirements through their participation in an interscholastic sport. Students would be able to use this extra academic time for either a study hall, to access the campus broadband and library facilities for their homework, or to take additional classwork which would benefit them in preparation for college.

“Since students who are involved in varsity sports are significantly more likely to be higher academic achievers, they are more likely to be involved in advanced placement courses which require significantly more study time,” said Dush. “I have repeatedly spoken to school administrators across Senate District 25 who are supportive of Senate Bill 454, because it encourages both athletic and academic growth. This legislation is specifically intended to give commonwealth school administrators greater flexibility and more options so they can better accommodate outstanding student athletes like Levi.”

Senate Bill 454 now advances to the full PA Senate for consideration. 

CONTACT:  Ty McCauslin, Communications Director at 717-787-7084 or tmccauslin@pasen.gov.

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