Over the course of two years, the girls of West Potomac have lost a safe space to exercise during school after an attempt at gender inclusivity backfired.
Alana Yoder, senior, who took the girls P-fit class until it was removed from the course catalog, said that it was the “highlight of her day.. I used to wish that it was the only class I took.”
In the 2021-2022 school year, the G-Fit class, a weight lifting class for only girls, was stopped in a push for inclusivity and creating safe spaces for people regardless of gender. All gendered named classes were dropped, including the girl’s choir class and the girl’s weight room class. What was supposed to be a comprehensive and all encompassing classroom actually resulted in a 68% drop in female enrollment in the Personal Fitness classes across the board. Female enrollment dropped from 51 in all P-Fit classes to 16 total, according to Kevin McMachon, director of student services.
Yoder reported she almost quit the class because of feeling overwhelmed.“It was scary being one of two girls with the really strong boys. It was more comfortable to be with the girls because they work out like you do,” she said.
When the drop in female enrollment was recognized, administrators at West Potomac took action to attempt to solve the problem.
Mr. Jeremiah “Coach” Ross, who coaches the P-fit classes this year, believes that the removal of the girl’s P-fit class was a “disservice to the female population” and that the removal “is not a very good policy.”
“We should have a female personal fitness class, and I understand inclusion and all this kind of stuff, but I think there should be a choice there. We took that choice away from them [the girls]”.
McMahon said the school board had no anticipation of the drop, but now that they have been made aware they can “revisit and ensure we are providing course options that are supportive of everyone.”
Furthermore, Mr. McMahon said, “…we [West Potomac and the school board] recognize the drop in enrollment is not something we’d like to see.. And we are currently in conversations with others to improve.”
This article originally appeared in The WP Wire.