California is considering putting a temporary stop on physical fitness testing to tend to concerns that the tests are discriminatory against non-binary students and those with disabilities.
Gov. Gavin Newsom released his education budget bill for next year, and in it was a proposal to suspend the administering of the tests for the upcoming school year and through 2023, Department of Finance spokesperson H.D. Palmer confirmed to PEOPLE.
Per the proposed language in the bill, the department would use that time to look to experts and other stakeholders with expertise in things like fitness, gender identity and disability to get better recommendations regarding both the purpose and the administration of the test.
Palmer said that the pause would only be temporary while schools deal with whether the test in its current form is discriminatory against non-binary students and students with disabilities.
The state Department of Education has said they’ve received complaints from districts over the years that students are required to select either “male” or “female” ahead of BMI screenings.
“Given the body of research on the impacts of bullying on transgender and special education students, this temporary pause will allow for a look to determine whether the current test can be modified or whether a new assessment should be developed,” Palmer said.
The pause would not affect gym class or the required number of minutes students must spend taking physical education classes.
The physical fitness test is comprised of six different fitness areas, and includes push-ups, sit and reach and a one-mile run.
Per the current Education Code language, each school district must give each student in grades 5, 7 and 9 a physical performance test at some point in February, March, April or May.
The proposal as it relates to BMI screening found support in former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose spokesman Daniel Ketchell told the Associated Press that considering Schwarzenegger’s height and weight at the time, he would have been classified as obese when he won Mr. Olympia in 1974.