For Parents PE exemption in MA public schools?

Bostongymnastics

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Oct 15, 2021
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Hi! Our daughter is L8, trains 23 hrs/week, in 7th grade in MA public middle school. Had convo with Director of fitness & health and she would not grant independent study for PE. I met with pediatrician to request letter excusing from first period PE but she didn’t seem “medically necessary.” My concerns are: I don’t want her to get injured in PE and then miss meets/practice, I don’t want her over exerting her body (she ran 3.5 miles at school the other day) especially as she is entering puberty, and finally she needs more sleep! She probably gets close to 8 hours and pediatrician said she should be getting at least 9 hours. Seems like accommodations vary school to school as I know some kids are granted independent study and flexible schedule considering extensive gymnastics schedule. Advice? Suggestions? Know a pediatrician /sports medicine doctor or other licensed physician who would agree and write letter?
 

txgymfan

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Are any of her classmates out with an exemption from her school? If so, ask their parents. Personally, I agree the extra hour of sleep would be much more beneficial than school PE. Has she seen another doctor for gym related injuries? Perhaps they would offer a second opinion and write a letter. Good Luck!
 

skschlag

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Hi! Our daughter is L8, trains 23 hrs/week, in 7th grade in MA public middle school. Had convo with Director of fitness & health and she would not grant independent study for PE. I met with pediatrician to request letter excusing from first period PE but she didn’t seem “medically necessary.” My concerns are: I don’t want her to get injured in PE and then miss meets/practice, I don’t want her over exerting her body (she ran 3.5 miles at school the other day) especially as she is entering puberty, and finally she needs more sleep! She probably gets close to 8 hours and pediatrician said she should be getting at least 9 hours. Seems like accommodations vary school to school as I know some kids are granted independent study and flexible schedule considering extensive gymnastics schedule. Advice? Suggestions? Know a pediatrician /sports medicine doctor or other licensed physician who would agree and write letter?

my son's district would not give an exemption either. However, they had an online summer school option that worked well for him and my daughter. He had to wear a heart rate monitor to record his practices (easy) and then had to do some readings and work. It was not hard, and allowed him to have a break during the school year. maybe ask if that could be an option!
 

mommyof1

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my son's district would not give an exemption either. However, they had an online summer school option that worked well for him and my daughter. He had to wear a heart rate monitor to record his practices (easy) and then had to do some readings and work. It was not hard, and allowed him to have a break during the school year. maybe ask if that could be an option!
Definitely something to ask about. Our district has an on-line summer PE option for high school, but not for middle school. It frees up space in the schedule for a study hall or an additional elective. It does not enable the student to arrive late or leave early.
 

skschlag

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Definitely something to ask about. Our district has an on-line summer PE option for high school, but not for middle school. It frees up space in the schedule for a study hall or an additional elective. It does not enable the student to arrive late or leave early.
my son was able to use it to leave early, which was much needed.
 

rlm's mom

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2 of my DD's PE lessons are at the end of the day so they end up missing half of it to leave for gym. I have no problem with them joining half an hour of PE with their classmates - It's good for them to socialize in a different environment and the activity isn't too strenuous. It's a good warm-up for gym. Other DD has PE in the middle of the day. She usually joins in but the school have allowed her to opt out and just watch if she is too sore from gym practice. I appreciate the school's willingness to let her opt out but she enjoys PE and usually joins in fully.
 

CuriousCate

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I hate to put this out here and make it easier to identify myself, but I am a sports medicine surgeon and I would never write a letter to exempt a patient from PE for gymnastics, and I honestly do not know any of my colleagues who would agree to do that. We would write a letter to keep the kid out of PE for an injury, but not to be excused from the entire class. That is not to say that I think PE is necessary for high level athletes - I don't. But it is really not my place as a medical provider to request an exemption for a non-medical reason. It would be a very slippery slope for a physician to start doing stuff like that.

My 4th grade level 6 and 6th grade level 8 (just retired :confused:) always have/had to go to PE, even though they leave/left school early for gym. They actually love it and don't want to miss it, but even if they did, it is really something to be taken up with the board of ed/superintendent of schools by the parent, not the doctor. I heard of parents in our district bringing a written log of activity/conditioning from the coaches to the superintendent and they have been able to get PE changed to just "fitness testing" for a pass/fail grade. Perhaps that is your better option.
 

Aussie_coach

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2 of my DD's PE lessons are at the end of the day so they end up missing half of it to leave for gym. I have no problem with them joining half an hour of PE with their classmates - It's good for them to socialize in a different environment and the activity isn't too strenuous. It's a good warm-up for gym. Other DD has PE in the middle of the day. She usually joins in but the school have allowed her to opt out and just watch if she is too sore from gym practice. I appreciate the school's willingness to let her opt out but she enjoys PE and usually joins in fully.
It’s interesting that they have PE at the sane time every day!

In Australia the kids do every subject at a different time each day they do it. So PE might be in the morning on a Monday, in the middle of the day on Wednesday, in the afternoon on Friday etc.

As a teacher I don’t know how I would like having the kids at the sane time each day. Some classes must be at a disadvantage. Like if your lesson is always first you would have a lot more lateness from the kids, or if it was always last the kids might be less focused. Or if it was always after lunch they might be ratty from running around.

I think there can be a lot of positives to kids doing PE, even if they are high level gymnasts. Through PE they can taste lots of different and interesting sports and gymnasts often excel so it’s great to have that subject where they can get an easy A.

I remember in PE we did it all swimming, soccer, archery, basketball, track etc etc. it brings a great cross training element having the bones and muscles work in different ways.
 

bookworm

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I can tell you from experience that the state of Massachusetts has mandatory requirements for PE attendance.... my 2 level 10 gymnasts never had an exemption from PE (nor did we ask) and the school knew the level of athlete they were so they participated in shooting hoops and the like with their classmates. We were at a small private school so if they missed PE with their early dismissal, it was never an issue. And when they got to high school , PE was only for a quarter so that worked for us.

Funny you mention worrying about your child getting injured in PE because one of mine slipped on a wet spot in the school hallway the day before regionals and had to have broken her coccyx ... and she was done for the season.

I also agree with CuriousCate... as a pediatric medical professional, I can't tell you how many "requests" we get from parents for accommodation for their high level ( and not so high level) athlete/child , and not for medical reasons...."Johnny wants an air conditioner but it's not allowed unless you say it's medically necessary"..."Susie adopted a kitten and we need a note that she needs it at school"..."Jenny wants a single room but we won't have to pay the single rate if you write a letter saying she's unsafe to have a roommate" ....you get the drift... We would never write a note for a non-medical issue either.
 

MuggleMom

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Generally I agree no reason to miss PE but I also dont understand why they have to run 3.5 miles for a PE class that seems a bit much. I don't care that my kid is in PE but if its a ton of running I would see if you could talk to teacher about an amended "assignment" my kiddo has lots of knee and foot issues from gym and growing that would be exacerbated by tons of running.

I dont think you will ever get an exemption to get more sleep however because its not the schools problem what time your kid goes to bed. I actually signed my kid up for zero bell so she goes in 45 min early for PE so she can do additional electives. Its not the schools fault she is at practice till 9 every night so I don't see anyone caring about additional sleep as a medical reason.