RICHMOND - Richmond Public Schools' physical education program and sports facilities are getting a failing grade.
This past spring, SportsBackers partnered with Richmond City Schools to take an in-depth look at their sports facilities and gym classes.
A 35-page report that was presented to the School Board last week found problems that range from maintenance issues to a lack of participation.
Kids in 7th and 8th grades aren't required to take gym class.
"What's hard in 9th and 10th grade is if they haven't done it in 7th and 8th, you've kind of trained them to not be active. So you really can't have that gap in middle school," says Sports Backers Executive Director Jon Lugbill.
Combine that with facilities that are run down, like the girl's locker room at Armstrong High.
"Some of the facilities were maintained at a nice level, something you'd see anywhere and sometimes they were just in really bad condition with trash and insects and rodents, obvious broken sinks and showers, so wide variants on maintenance."
In the study, SportsBackers recommends a number of solutions like renovating locker rooms, but there are also things that can be done without needing extra money in the budget.
And that's exactly what Richmond Public Schools are doing.
"One little step at a time, one building at a time. We're trying to make some improvements," says Health and PE Instructional Specialist Stefanie Ramsey. "We are working on individual committees for each of the high schools so we can work on upgrading all of our facilities."
A fitness room is something that's new to Thomas Jefferson High School this year and its ideas like this that they're hoping to implement in other Richmond schools. They plan to add other equipment, like ellipticals and treadmills soon.
"As a 20 year veteran educator, it's the key to being a veteran scholar and a student on the highest level. If you're not fit physically, you aren't going to be fit mentally."
"We as a community have allowed this to happen and we as a community have to work to make a difference to change it."
SportsBackers added that the Richmond School Board was very receptive to their findings and they're already taking steps in the direction of improving.
To see the SportsBackers full report, click here.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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