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Proposal Would Exempt Some High School Students From Gym

Peoria Public Radio

Illinois requires high school students take four years of gym class, but a proposal in the Illinois Senate could allow some students to opt out.

Senate Bill 114 would allow local school boards to excuse students from physical education if they are taking two or more Advanced Placement, or AP, classes.

Senator Pamela Althoff says she's talked with parents who are concerned about getting their children into competitive colleges.

"This bill would actually allow them to focus in on their studies so that they had that opportunity to go on to a school that they felt was a quality education," Althoff said.

Illinois is one of a small number of states that requires four years of high school gym. According to the 2012 Shape of the Nation report, more than half of all states allow students to substitute gym class for other activities.

Opponents to the proposal say gym class increases the health and academic performance of students, and helps combat high obesity rates.

Lisa Ryan is a graduate student in the public affairs reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. She previously worked at Indiana Public Radio and the college radio station founded by David Letterman. She is a 2014 broadcast journalism and political science graduate of Ball State University.
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