Clovis reinstates mandatory 8th-grade PE

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis Municipal School Board approved a motion Tuesday to reinstate the requirement for physical education for all eighth graders starting in the next school year.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Ladona Clayton said junior high principals and staff members had approached her about concerns for student well-being and wanting the requirement to return.

She said since the PE credit was made optional for eighth-graders, enrollment has dropped dramatically.
Board member Mark Lansford proposed to table the issue until the Jan. 25 board meeting, asking for additional research into what privacy and legal issues may be involved.

“I think that it ought to be left up to the parents, whether their kids participate in physical education,” Lansford said after the meeting. “My concerns are bullying, sexual harassment, belittlement (from) one kid to another.”

Clayton said she had not heard of any specific instances of bullying taking place in the PE locker rooms although she had not consulted the parental advisory committee.

She reaffirmed the issue was first brought to her by concerned school staff and that’s why she decided to bring it to the board.

“I always would have welcomed input from those parties as well,” Clayton said after the meeting. “I have a lot of confidence in my principals and my staff at my schools knowing the parent communities.”

The board passed the motion to reinstate the required PE class by 4-1, with Lansford dissenting.

In other business:

• The board also approved a $1.78 million project for major renovations to Marshall Junior High, awarding $1.6 million of that contract to Wilson and Wilson General Contractors. The project will be a complete overhaul to 26 classrooms in the front section of the school, said purchasing agent, Gene Bieker. While in process students will be moved to temporary facilities.

• The board approved a $320,000 project for renovations to building H at Clovis High School and a $268,000 project to replace the heating and air conditioning system at Rock Staubus gym.

• The board heard four community members lobby for a string instrument music program and discussed the pros and cons of such a program. Former Clovis band director Norvil Howell said Clovis has wonderful band and choir programs, but regretfully no orchestral program. The board agreed to start researching the issue and take it up at a future meeting.