MPSD P.E. Dispute

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A group of concerned parents of elementary students within the Meridian Public School District are upset about an ongoing dispute regarding the new physical education requirement.

Cheryl Thaggard is the mother of two boys that are both students at Poplar Springs Elementary. This year P.E. is only 2 days a week for a total of 150 minutes.

"I've been surprised about the opposition from the administration that the parents might have a problem with this," said Cheryl Thaggard of Meridian.

Thaggard says she along with many other parents were left in the dark about this change. And she wants the 150 minutes to be divided equally through the week instead of cramming it all into two days.

"They are almost in a school environment for eight hours a day, even the working world does not require less than 15 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes to an hour for lunch, and a 15 minute break in the afternoon, but we're requiring this of children in our public schools," said Thaggard.

"All of the elementary principals and the curriculum director met and decided on two 50 minute sessions a week of physical activity and one 10 minute walk a day for a total of 150 minutes a week and I agreed with their decision. If P.E. is 5 days a week, there would not be any time for art, music, computer lab, and library," said MPSD Superintendent Charlie Kent.

Kent added the state didn't specify how to break up the 150 minute requirement.

"I do not believe the state intended it to be divided the way our school district has," said Thaggard.

Thaggard says this does not promote a healthy learning environment. And with the school day being longer now she says being confined only makes it worse on the children. And it's just not P.E., Thaggard says recess has been taken away from some students as well.

"And after you hit the 3rd grade in the Meridian Public Schools, you don't have a scheduled recess time anymore so this is even more hard or even harder on 3, 4, and 5th graders," Thaggard said.

Kent says the current P.E. policy will remain in effect and the district will evaluate how well it works at the the end of this school year. He says it's too early to make a determination for the following school year.

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