Health Wreaking Havoc?

Carys Law ‘21

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“I think that it is ironic that they are giving us an extra marking period of health to relieve stress, but it really only adds to ours because of the growing amount of classwork, especially in my junior year””

— Justin Wong '21

Recently, a new health course requirement was introduced to upcoming sophomores and juniors. Next year, all sophomores and juniors will be required to take and extra marking period of health.  This decision received a lot of backlash from both students and parents, who are concerned for the implications of having an extra marking period of health, but the introduction of this new course may help to bring about more awareness to mental health in our school.

Many parents and students have been extremely outspoken on the topic of an additional marking period of health for sophomores and juniors starting next year, and their opinions came head to head with the Bernards Township Board of Education at their meeting on January 28th [1].  Most people are concerned with the extra course taking away critical time needed to complete work during Option II study hall. They argue that while the new course seeks to educate on mental health, stigma, and stress, the extra health class actually contributes to the ever growing pressures of schoolwork.  Cynthia Chen, ‘21, believes: “I don’t think that the teachers will be able to help our stress and mental health because they do not relate to us and don’t understand things in the way that high school students do.” Many students conclude from past health classes addressing mental health that the message is not always received, and a better use of their time is in completing the multiplying number of assignments and homework.

On the other hand, the Board claims that the benefits of this new class far outweigh the negatives ( such as losing time in study hall). With this extra marking period of health, the Board is bringing in a new health program, replacing the previously outdated and what some call, “insensitive” curriculum [2].  Some topics that will be focused on are personal growth and acceptance, communication, bullying, suicide prevention, nutrition, drugs and medicines, and fitness and wellness.  The Board says that the additional health class is not meant to be an academic burden, and should not be adding stress to the lives of students.  Justin Wong, ‘21, states: “I think that it is ironic that they are giving us an extra marking period of health to relieve stress, but it really only adds to ours because of the growing amount of classwork, especially in my junior year.”

According to the poll on the Ridge Devil’s Advocate website, students are neutral or strongly disagree with the statement that additional marking period of health will be beneficial [3].  Despite the opinions of many parents and students, the new plan on the addition to the health curriculum is set to move forward; the sophomores and juniors of Ridge High School should expect to be required to take an extra marking period of health, even if there is disagreement among the community.

 

[1] https://www.tapinto.net/towns/basking-ridge/articles/ridge-h-s-health-curriculum-comes-under-fire-at-heated-board-meeting

[2] https://www.tapinto.net/towns/basking-ridge/articles/bernards-school-board-scales-back-health-curriculum-change-at-ridge-hs

[3]

https://www.ridgedevilsadvocate.com/pollsarchive/

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