Health Education Not Required In Texas

by SKHC Editor on July 9, 2009

This fall high school students in Texas may not be required to take health class. Texas is now one of the few states in the country with no required health education however individual school districts still can require students to take health classes.

This recent decision, announced by Education Commissioner Robert Scott, has caused some worry that students will be left by the wayside when it comes to important educational topics such as alcohol awareness, sex education and basic nutrition.

“It runs the gamut, from tobacco use…substance use and abuse, nutrition and physical activity levels, unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, injuries…being informed health consumers, knowing when to use medicines or over-the-counter products, properly using the health care system…” explained Susan Woolley, executive director of the Ohio-based American School Health Association.

Scott eliminated the state requirement to comply with a new law that increases the number of electives needed to graduate. This fall students will need to take six electives instead of the current three and a half. The state’s recommended high school program will still require most students to complete 26 credits.

“It’s a major statement about where we’re going,” commented Diana Everett, executive director of the Texas Association for Health Physical Education, Health, Recreation and Dance commented. “We’ve been trying to address the issue of childhood obesity, but we seem to be losing ground every time the Legislature meets.”

To the relief of some, the decision came too late for many school districts and students to adjust their schedules and health class will be taught as if it was required during this fall. However, next spring a choice will have to be made as to whether or not health class will be required.

If individual school districts choose not to make health class a graduation requirement do you feel it could contribute to students possibly making poor or uneducated choices regarding their health? If a student had a health question do you think they would they go to the school nurse, their parents, peers, WebMD, or maybe just let their question go unanswered?


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