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SD School Board Fights for JROTC, Marching Band

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(Photo: San Diego Unified’s JROTC students lobby the school board to protect their PE credit. Ana Tintocalis/KPBS)

The San Diego Unified School Board will fight a state law that strips physical education credits from students in Junior ROTC and marching band programs. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

The state law is intended to put tighter controls on physical education by requiring any type of physical fitness class to be taught by P.E. instructors.

But most instructors of JROTC and marching band programs do not have a P.E. credential even though students engage in physically-demanding drills.

The San Diego Unified school board is now demanding the state board of education give students the credit this year. Trustee John DeBeck says they're also forming a statewide taskforce to develop a legislative solution.

DeBeck: If nothing happens to change the state board's regulations, they (students) will not have a credit in their first semester of their school year.

The measure is creating an uproar because these programs recruit students by touting the P.E. credit which is required for graduation. Supporters of JROTC and marching band worry the state law will devastate the programs.

School board member Katherine Nakamura is leading the fight to modify the state law. She says it targets the wrong group of students.

Nakamura : These are not the kids. If we want to get at childhood obesity, let's talk about authentic legislation. These are not the kids. Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News. 

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