Lack of gym puts graduation in jeopardy

March 18, 2011 3:22:43 PM PDT
Dozens of high school seniors at Wagner High School in Queens not only have to hit the books to graduate. They also have to hit the gym, just three months before graduation.

Several seniors at the Robert F. Wagner Jr. Secondary School for Arts and Technology are frustrated after learning that their graduation is in jeopardy because school administrators didn't provide them with enough gym classes.

"I just got my acceptance letters into college and now I might not be able to graduate. I was just shaking with anger," said Jas Gill, a senior.

About 90 out of 100 hopeful graduates are affected.

"Actually having to make up classes we never knew about, or never thought we actually needed until now seems almost irresponsible and careless of the school," said Allison Brooks a senior.

The principal of Wagner, Bruce Noble, has not responded to our requests for comment. The Department of Education says the matter is under investigation and today released a letter from Mr. Noble to students and parents, acknowledging the problem, promising action next week and saying, "affected seniors will receive new schedules and learn about their options to meet the physical education requirements, and we think that the courses will be both invigorating and fun."

"I don't think it's my fault at all to make up all these credits, it's the school's fault, so they shouldn't really pin it on us and pack our schedule," said Michelle Moya, a senior.

Other students have been told to expect classes like yoga and Nintendo game exercises, and some have been encouraged to make good on gym requirements outside of school-based activities.

"They even said that we could, like, lie about our hours too, so if we're going to go and lie about our hours, why can't you just give us the credits," said Vanessa Betancourt, another senior.

Students tell us they would agree with anyone who might think the school would find a way to fix this problem, so they can graduate on time and continue with their lives.