NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — No gym, no track, no problem.
For students at one Brooklyn school it has been a fight to find space for physical education classes, but a creative solution to the problem has left students running the halls.
Students at Medgar Evers College Preparatory Academy in Crown Heights don’t have a school gym, so they exercise in a hallway in the basement.
As CBS 2’s Tamara Leitner reported Friday many students feel that the hallway workouts may not be the best solution to their missing gym.
“There’s barely any space to move around,” freshman Jovani Chaplin said.
Danielle Patterson agreed.
“Sometimes you can’t do the exercises to your potential because you’re scared you’re going to hit someone,” she said.
Officials have found the situation frustrating as well. Principal Michael Wiltshire told CBS 2’s Leitner that he has to hold gym class at 7 a.m. before the start of the school day when 1,260 students roam the halls.
“It’s weird. More than weird,” Wiltshire said.
The PTA has also questioned the absence of a gym at Medgar Evers.
“It boggles the mind, why you wouldn’t put the resources here. A lack of auditorium and lack of a gym,” PTA President Trisha Mecklembourg said.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott told CBS 2 that the lack of a gym could be a matter of age.
“When a school is constructed, a lot of time in the old days they didn’t have a gym. Basically, the average age of our buildings is 64 years old,” he said.
The Department of Education said that while there is no plan in place to build a gym the school does meet the P.E. requirements.
But, Amy Schwartz, chair of the Women’s City Club’s Physical Education in Public Schools Task Force, disagreed.
“Clearly they do not have the resources or the equipment or space to comply with the physical education curriculum that is required by the state,” she said. “We’ll never know because this information is not available by the Department of Ed.”
In spite of their lack of a gym the students at Medgar Evers have done the seemingly impossible; their girls’ track team recently captured a city championship.
The state mandates at least 90 minutes of physical education per week for students in grades 7-12. All schools, including high schools, are required to provide physical education to their students.
The school does have a weight room, and a dance studio, and students are allowed to use the gym at a nearby college.
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