Education

No decision yet on PE waivers for auto shop students

The District 233 school board has not yet come to a decision on 2024-25 physical education waivers for students in the automotive program.

Four students in the automotive program at Homewood-Flossmoor High School spoke to the board at its May meeting asking for a positive decision on their request for physical education waivers. They asked why students in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program were granted PE waivers, but they were not.

At the May meeting, the board said it would study the issue. They assured the students that they were heard and that the board would have a decision for them.

At the June 18 meeting, Charley Dieringer, an incoming junior, again addressed the school board. He was one of the four students who spoke in May.

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“We’re still experiencing what I’d call potentially unlawful activity here at H-F. Our IB students are still being issued PE waivers for the next school year,” Dieringer said. He doesn’t believe that decision aligns with the school code.

Dieringer said H-F Principal Clinton Alexander had told them that he would ask for a legal opinion and would schedule a meeting to share the findings with the students, but that hasn’t happened.

“I was looking forward to that,” Dieringer said, noting he’s been researching the school code and finds that the school board has implied powers as it relates to PE waivers.

Dieringer acknowledged that the automotive and IB programs aren’t an apples-to-apples comparison, but he said denying the automotive students PE waivers shortchanges them of time to take another automotive class. PE waivers for IB students allow them to take another academic class.

In May, Alexander told the Chronicle that IB students get a waiver because they have time constraints to meet IB graduation requirements.

Dieringer argues, “You say we don’t’ have time constraints but I think that we do” saying he and the others want “as much classroom education that we can take advantage of while we’re in high school. It’s important to us.” The PE waiver would give students the opportunity to take another automotive class.

School board member Nate Legardy told the Chronicle that the topic of waivers will be discussed at the school board’s next Planning Committee meeting. No date has been set for that meeting.

 The school board doesn’t meet in July.

Legardy said the school board also is conducting an audit of the IB Program.

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