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Opinion Editorial by Dr. Judy Rink - A bill, currently before the legislature, would allow high school students who are members of a marching band to receive credit for physical education. Before the bill is passed, I wish to address significant differences between these programs.

1) Physical education is required for graduation, and marching band is not.

2) Though marching band may be a form of physical activity for students while they are marching (practice or performances), it does not prepare students for a lifetime of physical activity. The South Carolina state standards of the NEW physical education curricula are designed specifically for this purpose, and cannot be met by merely being physically active, or taught by individuals untrained in the scope/sequence of physical education.

3) South Carolina has the highest rate of obesity in children. Developing an interest in lifetime physical activity and preparing students with the skills and knowledge they need to be physically active cannot be achieved through marching band alone, and marching band does not address the development of skills or exposure to a myriad of opportunities available that are provided through physical education. Being physically active is critical to the future well-being of South Carolinians.

4) In many of our schools, physical educators also teach the comprehensive health education standards. Legislators want health education to include opioid instruction, sexual health and responsibility and CPR. Marching band teachers do not have the skills or knowledge to teach these content areas. Marching band is NOT physical education and should not be accepted as such.

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