The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Physical education classes continue modified gym suit requirements, stress physical fitness over competition

October 25, 2021


Amy Dean

Both rackets in the air Senior George Boutiller and junior Jocelyn Stout play badmitten in second period. “I think that the no-suits are necessary to have kids willing to participate in gym,” Boutiller said.

Five years ago policy changed and physical education students could wear athletic wear other than the school uniforms. Although there is no school required uniform, there are still no-suit policies that students must follow. 

Gym teacher Tom Palfey feels that students should be using active wear to gym classes without feeling uncomfortable.

“We want students to change out of their clothes. We want kids to be able to participate without having uncomfortable clothes to wear,” Palfey said.  “You can’t go to Planet Fitness just wearing jeans and boots. The school board policy is three no suits drops a letter in the grade. Five no suits you fails the semester. Seven no suits means you have to drop the class and take summer school for physical education.” 

Gym teacher Julie Schmoke feels that students should have proper athletic wear to use in P.E.

“It is a safety hazard to be wearing anything other than athletic wear,” Schmoke said. “It is school board policy for students to wear the school board approved uniform which is the maroon shorts and the grey Altoona t-shirt. We are now allowing the students to wear athletic wear which is school appropriate shorts, sweatpants, leggings, t-shirts and sneakers.”

According to Principal Jason McGinnis, the physical education curriculum changed, and they started a new program that has been working well for the past five years. 

“The difference in the program now is that when I taught physical education eight years ago we had emphasized competitive games and sports. Overall, we now focus on health and well being fitness and more fitness abilities,” McGinnis said. “It has seemed to work well when we have looked at the overall shift that shows kids not being in a competitive atmosphere. We had kids that just wanted to get exercise and that caused the shift.”

The community supports the school’s idea. According to McGinnis, grants have been donated. 

“We have gotten over half a million dollars of grants from different donors that believe in what we do. We also have community partners that are believing in us and backing us in what we do. Several years ago we required kids to use uniforms and that policy has since then changed. It’s now under a discipline of no-suit policy. The mentality we had was to have proper footwear, but the idea was to have kids participating in classes,” McGinnis said. 

The no-suit policy is being enforced in different ways since the program started years ago.

“You either don’t participate, or you don’t have the proper footwear on and it’s important that sneakers are being utilized. Depending on what you’re doing that day in physical education, you can use sweatpants, shorts and the right pair of sneakers. Our teachers like to see more active wear and that’s the broad idea. If kids don’t follow those rules, they are most likely to get a no-suit from the teachers,” McGinnis said.

At Hollidaysburg High School it is mandatory for students to wear school uniforms. HAHS senior Emalie Metrik has opinions on the school provided uniforms. 

“The gym uniforms are really cheap material and are very unflattering. They don’t fit even if you size up or down. If you don’t dress you get 0/10 points for the day and can’t make it up,” Metrik said.

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    Carlin FarberOct 25, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    personally i feel uncomfortable having to change from the clothing i have been wearing to do BMX skate and ski so why am i able to bike and skate on a board in jeans and boots but i cant play kick ball badminton or basket ball in jeans and boot there are some things that don’t make sense so make them make sense…….if you want your students not to feel uncomfortable don’t force them to dress