Patriot Perspective: Health curriculum must be mandatory


Allie Taylor

Of current freshmen, 31.5 percent are exempted from taking Health class due to the STEM program and Band. Health is a vital course that all students should take during their freshman year, and the curriculum should be revisited as a seminar-style elective for upperclassmen.

As a school that prides itself on encouraging students to be well-rounded individuals, we must be educated in all parts of daily life, ranging from humanities to mathematics to basic human health. While each academic field is essential in its own way, regardless of the career path you choose, the information taught in Health will provide assistance with both present and future situations.

In Health, students learn to value the importance of their physical and mental well-being, all while analyzing possible dangerous scenarios and ways to avoid them. These scenarios and solutions stem from many unfavorable situations, such as drug and alcohol addictions, negative self-images, mental diseases, and sexually transmitted diseases.

While Health is a considered a mandatory course, students who are a part of the STEM program or Band do not take it freshman year due to schedule conflicts for these programs. In fact, 31.5 percent of the class of 2020 does not experience the Health curriculum and is not required to take the course.

Due to its importance, Health class should be a graduation requirement and should be reinforced through an added Health  elective revised for more mature upperclassmen. This will ensure that all students are actively provided with new information and are aware of their physical and mental well-being.

The Health curriculum is unique because it provides the information needed to aid in decision-making, and it gives students a foundation of knowledge to refer to in times of hardship. This way students are more likely to avoid bad decisions, and, therefore, are more likely to have a healthy school career.

In high school, students can find themselves caught in alcohol and drug-related situations, which can lead to issues in school and at home. Not only are drugs and alcohol dangerous, they can ultimately have a negative impact on students’ future college acceptances and school careers.

Health helps students avoid these situations altogether by informing them of the repercussions of drugs and alcohol and the effects they can have on your body.

The Health curriculum also helps students deal with mental diseases. Depression and anxiety are two obstacles that many students face, which can be regarded with a negative stigma.

However, Health touches on the basic understanding of these mental illnesses and shows how students  can personally deal with them and assist in others’ recovery. Not only are students able to understand the reality of depression, but they can also receive firsthand aid from the class itself.

On the more extreme end of complex situations, Health can help the student body avoid STDs and unexpected pregnancies. The class promotes abstinence and shows that avoiding sex altogether will prevent both STDs and pregnancies. Health also covers different types of STDs and their side-effects, which can help students bypass these problems by understanding the negative outcomes of sex before marriage.

These topics are important for freshmen to understand, seeing as they undergo drastic changes due to a new school environment and a new social life. Having Health class allows these students to make the appropriate decision in the respective situations.

A mandatory Health class provides an active source for students to receive essential information regarding the appropriate ways to take care of their body in both mental and physical aspects. Students who are not exposed to this information through a structured class are forced to seek information on their own. Whether it’s searching online or discussing it with their friends, this can misinform students and can contribute to making uneducated choices.

With this in mind, it is imperative that the Health curriculum is reinforced throughout our high school career. A seminar-style elective for juniors and seniors would allow for further emphasis and further discussion about the original topics covered in Health. An optional class such as this is vital because upperclassmen are often confronted with more drastic situations compared to those of freshman year. With a driver’s license and more freedom, juniors and seniors have entered a new stage of their lives.

This is why upperclassmen should be offered a Health course as well to reinforce the details they learned in their freshman year. The broad topics discussed in Health must be emphasized as students prepare for college and the outside world.

In order to fully educate students on their physical and mental well-being, Health class must become a requirement for all students. Although some course changes may need to be made for those who participate in the STEM program and Band, the overall benefits of taking a Health course are worth altering schedules. Students must be aware of the causes and repercussions of their decisions relating to health in order to be the true well-rounded individuals that JC hopes to mold.