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Make P.E. mandatory for Surrey teens: Trustee

Surrey Trustee Reni Masi wants to make P.E. mandatory for all Grade 11 students in the district. -
Surrey Trustee Reni Masi wants to make P.E. mandatory for all Grade 11 students in the district.
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A study due out this fall will determine whether it's feasible to make P.E. (physical education) mandatory for Grade 11 Surrey students.
The concept was floated by Trustee Reni Masi and discussed by other Surrey Board of Education members at a public meeting Thursday evening.
Masi was prompted by rising obesity and diabetes rates in young people, as well as fast food advertising and unhealthy eating trends.
Right now, Grade 11 and 12 P.E. is an elective and not a required course.
"We all know we live in a more technological world," said Masi, who is proposing a healthy eating component also be mandatory, "... but it's also a more sedentary world."
He noted physical education is different than it used to be and kids and teachers have much more to work with than flat gymnasium floors and outdoor fields and tracks.
"We have highly advanced equipment in our gyms that can lead to highly individualized programs," Masi said.
Fellow trustees backed Masi's motion.
Trustee Terry Allen said he supported anything the board could do to encourage students to adopt healthier lifestyles, as did Trustee Laurie Larsen, who especially appreciated the inclusion of a healthy eating component.
Trustee Pam Glass, 81, who competed in track and field at the 1948 Olympics and was on the 1959 national field hockey team at the World Championships, also lauded the move to make P.E. a high school requirement.
"It's not just the activity," she said, "but the social contacts and recognizing the abilities of classmates."
School district staff were directed to complete a feasibility study, which is expected in the fall.

sreynolds@surreyleader.com

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