School District To Require Students To Wear Heart Rate Monitors In Gym Class

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

dubuque-schools-logoBeginning this school year, Dubuque, Iowa public school students in middle and high school are to be required to wear heart rate monitors to determine their activity levels in gym class. The heart rate will apparently be part of the grade they receive.

In an almost unbelievable new standard of measuring grades, the public school district in Dubuque believes that their cardio-vascular knowledge is of such expertise, that they can fully translate it somehow into a measure of a student’s progress.

WLEC News reports that Dubuque Schools Athletic and Wellness Director Amy Hawkins says this will also make writing report cards easier for teachers.

“It will be a large portion of their grade, because we want to grade them on what they’re actually doing in our class,” Hawkins said. “It really takes the opinion out of things. You know it’s not really ‘I think your kid is doing this and this in class.’”

One has to wonder if the idle ones are not the faculty of these schools in that they do not seem to believe that watching the students’ participation as it is done everywhere else is effective. Or, is it simply easier to just port the heart rate monitors directly into the grading software.

The value of these numbers is also questionable in terms of academic objectivity. All things being equal a comparison between a student with great athletic ability is going to have a lower heart rate than sedentary student during exercise or resting; that is in simple terms.

Should a student then have to explain why his heart rate has been lower than before because her physician prescribed medication that had an effect of lowering the heart rate? A student having a condition such as Essential Tremor could be prescribed a Beta Blocker which will as a side effect to this treatment lower the heart rate. If heart rate is the sole measure then a lower grade is possible. This also brings up ethical questions as to whether students should have to relinquish their doctor / patient privacy to contest a low grade. Also, there is the possibility of faculty members making diagnostic opinions and requiring students to be seen by health care professionals at a possible cost to the students’ parents.

One has to wonder at what point a student has a right to be free from complete control by a public school. Is something as personal as a heartbeat open to monitoring by a government agency?

By Darren Smith

Source: WLEC News

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

37 thoughts on “School District To Require Students To Wear Heart Rate Monitors In Gym Class”

  1. Bruce is right. Forcing some of us to take gym was like forcing a learning disordered kid to take calculus. Gym teachers (at least in the 50’s) forced competitive sports on kids. Some of us just wanted to exercise, not be beat up by more athletic kids.

  2. Dubuque is a depressed, depressing, failing small city. But, there must be taxpayer dollars out there for horseshit stuff like this!

  3. As someone with an Essentianal Tremor who takes medication for it, it really did not show up as a problem until high school and then so infrequently that I did not see it as a medical problem. I was well into my 40s before I started taking medication for it.

    As someone who faked their way through P.E. one year I can see what they are trying to do here. It makes sense in a Big Brother sort of way. I would say that they would have problems playing games wearing the monitors, but they have taken all the cool games out of the curriculum because you can get hurt, so what difference does it make if you are wearing a heart monitor while you are doing yoga poses?

  4. Heart rate varies tremendously from person to person. If each individual person is not tested to see what their heart rate zones are, it could very well act as a measure of false security.

  5. Bet the union teachers will go on strike if they were required to wear heart rate monitors and BODY CAMS. Another stressful situation fixed.

    FYI, outfit a complete biometrics and body cam solution for school superintendants, principles and administrators for an even playing field.

  6. Doesn’t take into consideration underlying undiagnosed pathology. As Max said it wouldn’t be a bad thing if used for safety purposes only. No using heart rates as a measure of fitness.

  7. What next, grades for weight gain or loss?

    Stick to academics?

    Good health is a noble goal, but it also requires healthy food, clean air, and natural water.

  8. Gym class should be an elective and a child should need a doctors release to take it.

  9. Darren
    My sister just retired from teaching Phys Ed in a local school district here in the Seattle area. She taught there for almost 25 years working with middle schoolers. In 2000, she was drilling the kids as usual around the track when suddenly, one little girl dropped dead of heart failure. At the time there was no portable defib device available at the school. Since then, there has been.

    The idea of a heart rate monitor is a good one IF it is being used to save lives.

    When I was in highschool, I traditionally always ran a lower heart rate.
    … I guess by Dubuque, Iowa school standards, I’m a failure.

  10. This could be done intelligently (say as part of a way to give kids awareness of how their heart rate gets affected). Of course, given their comments (‘It really takes the opinion out of things’), I think it is morel likely they’ll go with the port the heart rate monitors directly into the grading software idea.

  11. School starts tomorrow for freshman and Tuesday for the rest of the Dubuque School District. Tonight is the first I have heard of what will be taking place. Why did the school district fail to notify parents? This is invasion of privacy. The type of information collected would be protected under HIPPA if collected in a medical institution. Dubuque, we need to protect the rights of our children. The data collection will not stop at gym class. Do ten minutes of research and you will see that other schools then take the monitoring to the next level requiring students to wear them at home as well. What information besides heart rate is collected? Are these monitors equipped with GPS? We have to be asking these questions.

  12. This is like 1984 or something. Next, they ‘ll be monitoring our legs to see if they tingle when Obama speaks. Sooo, will they leave the monitors on during the sex -ed part of gym class?

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  13. randyjet will be among those headed to the re-education camps soon as he realizes the truth

  14. As for the childhood obesity epidemic, some schools are measuring body mass index (BMI) and sending the data home to parents. The American Association of Pediatricians (AAP) is very supportive of this idea. Some schools in Texas are also sending out letters to parents if the school nurse sees a condition called Acanthosis nigricans (darkening/thickening of skin behind the neck), which indicated prediabetes. But according to Dr. Seema Kumar (Mayo researcher), the real money is in prevention, which has to start very early.
    http://teachmorelovemore.org/ArticlesDetails.asp?articleid=20071

  15. The kids need to form a union. A more perfect union. They need to know when to say No. A kid who can not say no is a danger to self or others. Teachers are dumb as toast and might need devices to help them grade students. But the old saw must be remembered here:
    Those who can, do.
    Those who cant, teach.
    Those who cant teach, teach teachers.

  16. Doctor’s note should be sufficient if the student has a medical condition. We have an obesity edemic. Get some lifetime habits started early.

  17. I think that it is a good thing for the student since from what little I know about physical fitness, the idea is to get the heart rate up enough for a certain length of time to give an idea of the number of calories burned off. I would not mind such a thing since it would be of benefit to myself mainly.

  18. The level of intrusion into the personal lives of Americans is breath taking and it is starting earlier and earlier. Parents should be outraged!

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