The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Bills allow dance, limit extracurriculars

Clubs such as Army Ants would not be excused from school for competition under proposed legislation. Photo by Chris Roberts

Students may become less reluctant to take their required physical education credit course with a proposed bill in the Missouri House of Representatives. If passed, House Bill 1348 will allow schools to offer dance classes in addition to their current physical education programs for fine art or physical education credits.

The bill states, “Any public school may offer one or more courses in ballroom dance, square dance, or country dance. These activities shall be treated as a qualified physical education activity and as a fine arts activity for academic credit granting and receiving purposes when offered by a public school.”

Rep. Myron Neth of District 34 sponsored the bill but was unavailable for comment. The bill, referred to the House in February of this year, is awaiting a hearing. The proposed effective date for the bill is Aug. 28, 2012.

According to the National Dance Education Organization, dance is a great exercise for overall fitness by utilizing the entire body; it promotes psychological health and maturity and fosters social encounter, interaction and cooperation.

Along with the health benefits, the bill would provide a welcome additional option for students trying to fulfill their physical education requirement without taking away previously offered options.

Sophomore Joanna Zhang, who has already filled her required PE credit, would have jumped at the opportunity to take such a class.

“I’d prefer ballroom dancing over regular PE,” Zhang said. “It has a certain charm and romance to it.”

Also proposed to go into effect on that date is House Bill 1507. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Webb, who was also unavailable for comment, will prevent a student’s participation in certain extracurricular activities during the school day. Aside from events sponsored by the Missouri State High School Activities Association, students will not be allowed to miss school for any extracurricular activity.

Part one of Bill 1507 states, “The state board of education shall by rule limit participation in and practice for extracurricular activities during the school day and the school week. The rules shall, to the extent possible, preserve the school day for academic activities without interruption for extracurricular activities.”

Sophomore Kelsey Harper, who attends non-MSHSAA sponsored events such as Engineering Day, student council and choir during school hours, believes the Missouri House of Representatives should not pass the bill. She thinks the school should decide how to handle its extracurricular activities.

“I would miss out on learning,” Harper said. “I learn things from extracurricular [activities] that teachers can’t teach me in class.”

She doesn’t even mind the make-up work that comes with missing classes.

“It doesn’t bother me making up the work because I feel like I get more out of doing the extracurricular event,” Harper said. “I have never experienced not being able to learn the material on my own.”

In addition to limiting extracurricular time during the school day, if passed, HB 1507 will prohibit students with failing grades from participating in any district-sponsored extracurriculars, instead of just MSHSAA activities as the rules currently state. This will limit a failing student’s options outside the classroom.

Senior class counselor Melissa Coin agrees time in the classroom is important. At the same time, however, she does not see the problem with students leaving for activities other than those sponsored by MSHSAA.

If “a student is able to maintain their grades and attendance, I wouldn’t see a reason why you can leave for sports but you can’t leave for the other stuff,” Coin said. “It should be a case by case thing for a school and for a student. If a student’s not maintaining good grades then I would see a reason why teachers would say it’s not OK to leave for a student council meeting. But you know if a student has straight As and they’re keeping up with their classwork, then I don’t see why they should be limited as long as it’s still tied to the school and education in some sense.”

By Sam Ryan

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