Filed under Opinions

Swim policy for girls: unjust or reasonable?

Photograph: Speedo

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






According to York’s Course Offerings book, all students are to take two quarters of aquatics during their semesters of gym at some point in their high school career. Under normal circumstances, it can be smooth sailing. However, there is a time of the month in which this becomes particularly problematic. If you are apart of the menstruating population at York, you are well aware of the complications that can occur when you have to swim.

York has a policy in which girls who are menstruating may take up to three days off of swim if necessary. This policy has brought controversy as many girls have complained it is not fair, it doesn’t fully cover the length of their cycle, and that they don’t like the regulations of the policy. Meanwhile, members of the P.E. Department argue that it is the best option for the policy because it ensures that girls do not miss out on essential swim skill progress.

Mrs. DeAngelis, epartment chair for Physical Education, Health & Driver Education, details that the official policy allows a female student on their period to take three days off of swim. During these three days the girl will walk laps and earn the full points for those days. She is able to take off more days if necessary, but she won’t get the points for those days. Points lost can be made up at a later time.

The P.E. department claims that the current policy is a fair one, for it is sensitive to the girls while still making sure they continue their skill development. Though the P.E. department strives to ensure the policy is fair; it does not resonate well with many students.

In fact, in a survey of 20 freshman and sophomore female York students, 95% say that they feel the policy is unfair. The reasoning behind this varies from student to student; however, some common arguments are that three days is too short, the policy punishes girls for something they cannot control, and that they are uncomfortable with the regulations of the policy. Some girls do not like having to have such a conversation with her teacher about menstruation.

One freshman who respondent explained why she believes the policy is not reasonable: “The policy is sooo unfair; like a three-day period doesn’t exist. Every girl’s body is different, and it’s no fair how we are limited to a three day break for everyone.”

The P.E. department is aware of the differences in menstrual cycles and is taking those differences into consideration in an attempt to be fair but reasonable.

“I think it’s the most fair way we can do it, especially because the males don’t get any freebee days, and they’re in the whole entire unit,” ” said DeAngelis. “But, we also understand that females are dealing with a different factor of life than males do, and we want to be sensitive to that while still making sure the girls get the skill development they need.”

Still that can make for another difficult conversation between female students and their teachers.

“Being on your period is uncomfortable in general,” said another freshman surveyed. “Nevertheless, being put in a situation where you need to explain to your male gym teacher that you are having ‘lady issues’ is uncomfortable. Then if after your three days your ‘lady issues’ are still there and you want to take more days off; this makes for an even more uncomfortable situation.”

Althougth the P.E. department is well aware of the senstive nature of this topic, they are trying to make sure that students have the same opportunity to practice their swimming skills in time for their assessment.

“We’re very flexible if you’re not comfortable getting in the pool, we’re not going to make you get in, ” said DeAngelis. “We just feel that for the amount of days that you need to be in the pool to actually practice what we’re teaching to get better, three is fair. We want to make sure girls are getting the skill development that they need.”

In an attempt by the P.E. department to accommodate for girls who need it, one part of the policy states that upon request, girls can have more days off. However, often times girls don’t always know this. In the survey, 25% of the girls reported not being aware of the full extent of the policy.

“I, however, did not realize that the girls in gym could still take off days, which does make the situation better,” one respondent said.

DeAngelis further explained that it doesn’t take much for a girl to take more days off. Girls are allowed to take up to five days; it’s just that if you do take more than three you won’t get the full points for those days. This is because they want students who take more days off to come in and earn those points back so they can improve on their skills that they missed.

Due to the feelings many girls are having about the policy, 95% of the survey takers reported that they believe that the policy should be changed. Most girls suggest a change in the amount of days off or change in penalty for taking more days.

“I strongly believe that there should be more days for girls,” said a sophomore respondent. “I do understand that taking a week off a month is a lot, but it’s not our fault, and we shouldn’t be punished for it.”

 

DeAngelis believes this policy is fine the way it is and said that a change won’t be made. She also expressed a worry about making a policy with more days off.

“Five days would be better, but we also do not want girls to be taking advantage of that privilege,” said DeAngelis.

In the end, the P.E. department wants girls to know that they put a lot of thought into the policy and try to be fair while also ensuring students have enough practice time to improve their skills.

“Every policy is not going to please everyone, but we tried to make a policy in the pool that we feel is fair enough for all students and that continues their swim growth and development,” DeAngelis said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Swim policy for girls: unjust or reasonable?

    Opinions

    Thanksgiving food is nasty

  • Swim policy for girls: unjust or reasonable?

    Opinions

    Is Moana a Communist?

  • Swim policy for girls: unjust or reasonable?

    Featured Photo of the Week

    Conflict Resolution Survey

  • Swim policy for girls: unjust or reasonable?

    Opinions

    Are the Dreams of DACA at Stake?

  • Swim policy for girls: unjust or reasonable?

    HOMECOMING

    Homecoming: Is dateless the way to go?

  • Opinions

    The Struggles of Modern Journalism

  • Swim policy for girls: unjust or reasonable?

    Opinions

    EDITORIAL: It’s time to patch up our divided nation

  • Swim policy for girls: unjust or reasonable?

    Opinions

    Why we need feminism–Women’s History Month

  • Swim policy for girls: unjust or reasonable?

    Opinions

    Women in the workplace

  • Swim policy for girls: unjust or reasonable?

    Opinions

    Diversity isn’t as simple as black and white

Swim policy for girls: unjust or reasonable?