Mission Hills staff shares thoughts on inclusivity of minorities in P.E. classes

Assistant Principal Baker and other staff members are striving to create a safe and comfortable environment for all students.


Photo by Celeste

Mr. Baker and Daniel Ashlock speak on issues regarding P.E. and solutions for inclusivity.

At Mission Hills, physical education classes often breed opportunities for bullying due to a lack of supervision. However, there is a large part of the Grizzly population working to stop this targeted harassment of minorities on campus. Teachers, staff, and students are taking action to ensure others feel included during all activities in an effort to promote acceptance across campus.
“I have heard of instances where there has been bullying going on, so coming into the P.E. department … I try to be really open with them so they can be comfortable and build that relationship really early on. I always ask students their pronouns and I always make sure that everybody feels comfortable changing in the locker room,” said Alexis Archibald, Yoga and Metalsmithing teacher.
Improving this openness during classes is a large step forward at Mission Hills. Other students also agree about the positive effects this has on the quality of P.E. classes, whether they be Yoga, Dance, or General P.E., to name a few.
“I can really connect with everybody in Yoga. I don’t feel like I have to hide myself … I definitely know all the students there. I know that a lot of them also struggled with bullying,” sophomore Tony Zamora said.
Apart from securing an inclusive environment and eliminating targeted harassment, helping those who observe bullying to become comfortable with speaking out is also important.
“People who are quiet when there’s bullying or oppression aren’t actually helping the victim, they’re helping the oppressor. So, if we create a culture where more people can feel like they can speak up and they can speak up on behalf of other people, I think we’d have a much better ability to handle things like bullying,” said Dorothy Orlowski, English and Yoga teacher.
In addition to the support provided in classes like Yoga, Mission Hills also has other options for struggling minorities, such as the adaptive P.E. program.
“The adaptive P.E. program is a program that fulfills the requirements that are embedded in education plans. For students that are struggling with [body image], we do have other areas that they can change, if they’d like; we do have gender-neutral spaces. There are laws that protect the rights of students … they need to be protected around gender identity, [equal] education, and all other aspects of P.E.,” said Nathan Baker, Assistant Principal.

Daniel Ashlock and Mr. Baker discuss how the P.E. program aims to be inclusive. (Photo by Celeste Vaca Jimenez)

Bringing equal opportunity to all students, especially in physical activity, is critically necessary in order to positively shape individuals during this important time of development. From creating a space for bystanders to comfortably speak out, to being able to support every high-schooler at Mission Hills, the community is starting to become more accepting of those who do not fit the societal stereotype. There is still a lot of work to do, but it is important to reflect on how much progress has already been made. Whether it is the action of reporting harassment that you saw at school, or supporting the movement in another way, showing you care can be simple. Let us continue this progress in equality together for our unseen Grizzlies!
For more information, view “Discrimination against LGBTQ+ kids in P.E. class causes them to dread the period,” the article preceding this one that addresses the issue at hand or visit the Mission Hills Athletics Department page. To read about GSA club, click here.