Exemptions from Health or Physical Education Curriculum
Health Curriculum Requirements
District Waiver Request
Students should not be exempted from the entire class but rather specific topics or lessons. This procedure should be looked upon as a partnership between the parents and the school, designed to best meet the needs of each student and family. The following steps should be taken.
The teacher should make available any resources (lesson plans, books, and videos) that are ordinarily used in the class or are available as alternative materials. However, the parent may use alternative materials that meet the state standards.
If the school is unable to reach agreement with the parent to waive only a portion of the course and a waiver of the complete course is requested, the following procedure applies:
State Waiver Request
A parent who objects to one or more state standards should request a student waiver by writing a letter to the State Secretary of the Public Education Department and present it to the District Superintendent for local district recommendation and transmittal to the state.
Physical Education Curriculum Requirements
A student may be excused on a year to year basis from physical education classes by the principal. He/she must have on file a written statement from a licensed medical doctor or osteopath, who indicates the physical education activities that would be detrimental to the health of said student. The doctor’s statement must be renewed annually if the condition persists.
This school-based waiver does not exempt the student from his/her obligation to meet graduation requirements as outlined by the Public Education Department’s standards. Before granting a waiver, schools must consider whether or not the student’s needs can be met if the school modifies the student’s physical education program. If reasonable modification can be made, the school has an obligation to provide the modified program for the student. Examples of reasonable modifications include:
A student may be excused from physical education classes on a year-to-year basis for religious reasons on the approval of the principal. This school-based waiver does not exempt the student from his/her obligation to meet graduation requirements as outlined by Public Education Department’s standards (as outlined in the following sections). Before granting a waiver, schools must consider whether or not the student’s needs can be met if the school modifies the student’s physical education program. If reasonable modifications can be made, the school has an obligation to provide the modified program for the student.
A student who is unable to achieve the state standards for elementary physical education must receive a waiver from the district superintendent. A student who is unable to complete the middle school and/or high school graduation requirement for physical education because of health or religious reasons must receive a waiver from that requirement from the State Secretary of the Public Education Department.
Waiver Under Section 504
Students for whom a waiver of the physical education requirement is requested on medical or physical disability grounds must receive an evaluation that meets the requirement of Section 504. Following the evaluation, the school will prepare a modified program that accommodates the student’s needs. If the parent objects to the plan and wishes to request a waiver of physical education requirements, or if the recommendation of the Student Assistance Team (acting in accordance with Section 504 regulations) is that the student be waived from physical education requirements, application will be made to the New Mexico Secretary of the Public Education Department.
Requests for waivers of the physical education requirement will be compiled for processing on the last day of each month. Requests should be forwarded to Teaching and Learning Systems. Each student’s request must be accompanied by:
The request for a waiver should be made at the beginning of a student’s senior year after the school has verified that the student is unable to participate in a physical education class prior to graduation. Requests will be approved by the district superintendent and forwarded to the State Secretary of the Public Education Department.
A student who has received a physical education waiver is prohibited from participation in any extracurricular activity requiring physical exertion similar to that described in the waiver.
Cross Ref.: Exemption from Physical Education Letter (sample)
Instructional Directive: compliance with Section 504/Americans with Disabilities Act
NSBA/NEPN Classification: IMBB
Revised: May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: May 1997
Revised: June 2002
Revised: August 2004