A bill set to be debated at the South Carolina House of Representatives on Tuesday could soon allow marching band to count as credit for PE class.
The House is expected to take up a proposal which would have band class qualify for the one physical education credit hour required for graduation. The Senate passed the idea earlier this year. Supporters say band students get as much, if not more, exercise during their practices and performances as what they would receive during time in the gym.
“Allowing the marching band class and the PE class to coordinate and meet that requirement would free up another class period for our students to take core academic studies,” State Rep. Raye Felder, R-Fort Mill, argued on the House floor last week.
Felder said the decision would ultimately be up to the district. Lawmakers have previously created a similar exemption for Junior ROTC classes.
Some in the House are hesitant at the change. State Rep. Russell Fry, R-Surfside Beach, worried about what other extra curricular activities could be classified as PE. “Are we also setting up a scenario where we do this for cheerleading, for football, for soccer, for everything else that requires some physical activity, and we count that as PE?” he asked.
Felder responded the credit would only count for an actual band class, rather than practices after school, making it different from athletics teams or clubs.
But the bill’s critics also question how band instructors would be able to teach the health education requirements which are also part of the PE curriculum. The bill would currently have students take the courses online to meet the requirement.
Fifteen states have passed similar legislation.