HHS Changes Rules For Changing For Gym Class


Jillian Wesseldyke, Staff Writer

This year, Hawthorne High School implemented a new rule that students changing for gym is no longer mandatory. Students still have to have appropriate footwear for safety purposes, however, unless someone really wants to, they do not have to change into typical “gym clothes”. 

This may come as a shock to some people, as most of us have always lived in a world where you are required to change for gym class. However, not having to change could open up some possibilities, both good and bad, with this new rule change.

First, students get more freedom with what they can wear to school. Perhaps in the past, we have been more constricted to what we wear on days we have gym, due to not wanting to fully change outfits. Now, students can be more free with their clothing, not having to worry about the hassle of changing out of it, or coming to school wearing certain things.

On the flip side, wearing whatever clothes you want could potentially be very uncomfortable after class. In class, everyone tends to get a little sweaty sometimes, whether it is a product of warmer conditions outside or in the gym, or whether the games require a lot of running. So, perhaps changing may not universally be the greatest thing. 

To get more insight on the reason behind the rule change, I interviewed Ms. Just, who is a gym teacher here at HHS.


The Clarion: Why did the rule, making changing for gym optional change?

Ms Just: Mr. Pfister and the Physical Education department had a discussion regarding new standards that were adopted for physical education in NJ and how they relate to practices we have in our school… Some questions arose regarding what is considered appropriate and safe attire and if changing should be mandatory for all students.  We even considered not having classes change at all for P.E. to maximize class activity time.  But due to concerns regarding safety when considering appropriate attire and supportive footwear, we would’ve still had to require students to wear athletic shoes and attire to school on each day they have physical education… So we decided to poll the students to get their feedback on whether or not they at least want the option to change for class instead of eliminating the option altogether. We figured it would be fair to consider the opinion of the student body when making this decision. The majority voted to at least have the option to change before and after this period.  This way they wouldn’t have to come to school in athletic attire if they didn’t want to, or could at least change after activity so they wouldn’t have to walk around in their sweaty clothes for the remainder of the day. 


The Clarion: What are your own personal thoughts on the rule changing?

Ms. Just: I personally think it’s a great compromise that allows for maximum and safe participation for all students while creating an environment where all feel comfortable in class. I’m glad the students were able to have some input in this policy and that our new principal made it a point to include the student body in this decision. We still require supportive athletic sneakers for safety purposes and the attire must allow for movement and follow the school dress code, but we are a bit more flexible with what is considered appropriate for class activity.  Our main goal is to keep students safe, keep them moving, and allow them to find joy in physical activity. 


Overall, the decision to change the rule on changing for gym seems to benefit everyone, and will ensure both the safety of students in class and the flexibility of being able to be comfortable in class.