Swimming Controversy Creates Waves

This front-page story was cut short and not continued in Volume IX, Issue V of the Hawk Headlines. The staff of the Hawk Headlines strives to produce the best newspaper possible and apologizes for this error. Please enjoy the complete story below:

The Woodland Physical Education program has been in existence since the school opened its doors in 2001; the class has touched upon activities ranging from the typical – basketball, hockey, volleyball and dodgeball – to the outlandish – yoga, badminton and archery. One area, however, has never been touched.

Despite Woodland’s excellent aquatic facilities, the Physical Education classes have never ventured into the pool. This month, the longstanding exodus was nearly ended.

“We haven’t been allowed to use the pool in the past for different reasons,” said Ray Donaghy, Woodland Physical Education teacher and trainer. “The Board [of Education] or the Superintendent hasn’t allowed us in because of what they felt were safety restrictions.”

Donaghy and his fellow teachers were excited to begin their new program. Donaghy planned to begin the swimming unit this month, until the Administration put the breaks on the program.

Dr. Frank, Woodland principal, believes that the Physical Education teachers were a bit too hasty when deciding to start swimming in class.

“I think that there are issues we need to talk about: Is it mandatory? Is it voluntary? What’s the uniform? What about somebody that doesn’t want to swim? I think we have to be a little more clear about it,” said Dr. Arnold Frank, Woodland principal.

Although Donaghy says that “the dress code is going to be whatever anyone feels comfortable wearing in the pool” (i.e., T-shirts, shorts, etc.), students may still feel self-conscious. Teenagers feel uncomfortable being seen by their peers in bathing suits, whether it be a one-piece or a two-piece.

Alyssa Klancic, Woodland junior and News Editor, is a student in Donaghy’s gym class. She feels that more planning needs to be done before the swimming program is instituted at Woodland.

“I think that swimming in gym should be optional because there needs to be more regulations than there currently are. I think that forcing students to swim will make a lot of people feel uncomfortable – boys as well as girls,” said Klancic.

According to Donaghy, however, the Woodland Physical Education teachers have planned the swimming program extensively.

“Right now I’m in the middle of formulating a parent notification slip detailing everything that’s going to happen in the pool and answering a lot of the same questions that you’re asking right now,” said Donaghy.

In addition, the Physical Education department traveled to Newington High School to watch their swim program, which Donaghy says is the top in the state. The new Woodland program will “use a lot of the same protocols and procedures that they use,” said Donaghy.

The juniors and seniors in Donaghy’s A-block class were able to swim before the Administration put a hold on the idea.

“They were reluctant to go in, but after we got out it was not as bad as they thought it would be; they had a great time and they’re going to want to get back into the pool,” said Donaghy of his class.

Despite the optimism of the Woodland Physical Education department, some students are skeptical about the idea.

“Many people aren’t very secure with their body image,” said Mike Krakowski, Woodland junior. “I feel that [swimming in school] is exposing them to the insecurities that they don’t want exposed. They will be forced to wear a bathing suit and a lot of people aren’t comfortable wearing one.”

Others, like freshman Chris Zmuda, aren’t entirely against the program.

“If the kids want to go swimming in class they should be allowed to, but they shouldn’t be forced to swim,” he stated.

Woodland students who are nervous about swimming in their next Physical Education class can rest easy, however. According to Frank, swimming is unlikely to occur at Woodland this school year.

“I don’t know that we’ll get it all figured out for this year. It is possible, but most likely it will start next year.”

Photo credit: Rachael Conti


  1. Aysia

    April 28, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I think that this whole thing is rediculaous! There is no reason for this issue to be as big as it is getting. The solution is simple : If a student does not want to go in the water, then they should be able to do some sort of other assignment to gain their credit for the day. If they feel self conscious, then they should not be forced to go in the pool. But like Mr. Donaghy said ” They could wear what they feel comfortable in “. It’s not like anyone is forcing them to wear a skimpy bikini. I personally would like to go swimming because the weather is starting to get warmer. I was very upset when I found out that we wouldn’t be going in the pool.

  2. Logan Frontenelle

    April 28, 2010 at 10:12 am

    You need to use more than spell check when writing an article. You need to proof read and get rid of the gramatical errors.

  3. jared

    April 28, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Actually, there is not one single grammatical or spelling mistake in this entire article. I think a 650-word story with no mistakes is fairly impressive, but thanks for reading!

  4. Olivia Zlamany

    April 28, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    I understand what people are saying that it doesn’t need to be mandatory. But here’s the question: What are those students going to do? Who’s going to supervise them when Donaghy is in the pool area with the rest of the kids? I suppose that they may be able to be put with the other gym class but there are limits about how many students a teacher can have at once. I’m interested to see how Newington does it and if it all pans out at Woodland.

  5. J. Mikulski

    April 28, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Olivia, Donaghy answered that question in his interview. I think he said something about a separate assignment like running around the pool or doing other gym-y things on the pool deck so he can watch both groups at the same time. I think that’s how Newington does it too.

  6. swad

    April 28, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    wow, seriously? why is everyone crying and complaining over this lolol? if a student doesn’t feel like swimming, put them in those bleachers in the back and give them an assignment. LET US SWIM

  7. Dillon Gmitter

    April 29, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Not to be challenging…. But running around the pool for extra credit seems like a bad idea. The chances for somebody falling and splitting their head open are very great. And what if 15 kids are doing it at the same time?

  8. Douglas Aldrich

    April 29, 2010 at 9:09 am

    OK to address two things here…

    First off, Jared is right. There are no errors in the story. Nice job.

    Second off, I am kind of disappointed that we weren’t able to do it in our gym class, and I think we should have from the start. Even though I agree with the plan and I think it is a good plan, however, I do feel that there are some chinks in the chain. First off, I think guys don’t really have any problem with this, unless there’s a guy in the class that has a thing for wearnig the Borat thing in the pool lool. But as far as I’m concerned, guys aren’t going to have a problem.

    As for girls, I think they should just wear a confortable one-piece, just to eliminate any chance of a rude comment coming their way. However, it has to be something that everyone would be comfortable with, otherwise, it would entirely defeat the purpose of even having this program in gym class.

  9. Douglas Aldrich

    April 29, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Alright one more comment, as for those kids that don’t want to swim…

    If they don’t want to swim, you can’t force them. Some kids are just naturally afraid of water. There are kids in our school that don’t do regular gym activities, but they get 0 on their score for the day. I think they should start off the program by allowing them to do something, but then as the program continues are people are more comfortable with it, then consequences will be enforced. If a kid really cannot swim or is extremely scared, then have a parent call Mr. Donaghy and tell them. If they can’t do it, have them still particpate in gym-related activities, but with another class.

  10. no name

    April 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    the rule dor swimming in gym class should be the same as all the other gym classes, if u dont bring your uniform/bathing suit and don’t participate you get a zero, just like EVERY other thing we play in gym, personally I hate kickball but when thats what we do for the day I make a decsion play and deal with it or take a zero. swimming should not be knocked down just lets the kids who are acting like its the end of the world take a zero its there problem not ours. especcially since you can where ANYTHING you want while in the pool area. theres nothing to argue.

  11. J. Mikulski

    April 29, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Good point, no name!

  12. Unknown

    April 29, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    You make a great point no name. However, there is a difference between not feeling comfortable and not wanted to do it because you don’t feel like it. Also, the fact that you can wear ANYTHING actually makes this even more dangerous considering that the lint from the clothes can cause damage to the pool, and the clothing will pull you down as you swim making it diffiuclt. Therefore, you are practically forced to wearing a swimsuit considering swimming with clothing on is near impossible if not dangerous.

  13. Unknown

    April 29, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    There are still alot of gaps and it needs to be planned out more. It should not have been brought till everyone was on the same page. When Dr. Frank says it still needs to be figured out then you know it wasn’t thought out carefully.

  14. Aysia

    April 30, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    No name has a very good pint. I absolutely HATE playing Trench! I don’t feel comfprtable playing it because I don’t like getting hit with the ball. It scares me because I can get hurt . there is NO difference in swimming. If you don’t like too swim , SIT OUT ! Don’t ruin it for the rest of us.

  15. no name

    May 5, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    thanks everyone by agreeing with me. “unknown” you said there is a difference between not feeling comfortable and not wanted to do it because you don’t feel like it. and i am sorry if i was unclear about that, its not that some games in gym i don’t feel like playing its that i dont feel comfortable playing certain games, i am not a very good catcher or thrower so mostly ALL games in gym require that but yet i still show up everyday feeling awkward and alone earning my points for the day. this is how all gym activities are so swimming should not be put down so much. if this is the case the i shouldn’t have to play the games in gym i dont feel comfortable playing. i just wouldn’t be right!!!!!!!!

  16. tennisboy

    May 25, 2011 at 9:01 am

    No name, its not that people don’t want to participate, its that they have issues with their looks. I would personally never swim and if they made me, id take a zero and go right to the office. Its not swimming, its wearing the bathing suit.

  17. FSU

    November 13, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I like swimming and I don’t have the most perfect physic either, just chill out and swim bros and bronetts.

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