Pick any class as long as it’s gym

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Due to an administration error, senior students at Robert F. Wagner Jr. Secondary School for Arts and Technology have had their electives replaced with gym classes in order to make up two years of physical education credits that were never scheduled but are needed for them to graduate, sources said.

Just three months before graduation the seniors also have been encouraged to take after-school gym classes to build up their gym credits, sources said.

The city Department of Education said in a statement that it was investigating the situation.

“The school is working with the network to arrange for these students to meet their gym requirements before the end of the year,” the department said.

Sources said senior students at the school, at 47-07 30th Place in Long Island City, were given new schedules Monday with their electives replaced by gym during the school day. The students will also be making up the time by taking a gym class during after-school hours or by visiting LaGuardia Community College’s gym, which has been offered to the students free of charge.

Principal Bruce Noble had no comment on the issue other than to say that the department was looking into the matter and to defer questions to the DOE.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said he was in touch with the department about the issue, which he heard was due to an administration error that caused students to be short of approximately two years of gym credits.

“The idea that they should have a delayed graduation because of a screw-up is completely unacceptab­le,” Gianaris said.

The senator said he had never heard of a situation like this happening before.

“It’s a pretty serious problem,” he said.

The New York Post reported that as many as 90 members of the student body’s 100-strong graduating class were affected by the error. During school hours, students were told they could make up the time by participating in gym classes, doing yoga or playing Nintendo Wii exercise games, the Post reported.

Unnamed seniors who spoke to the Post were incensed at the schedule change.

“I think it’s ridiculous that he’s telling us now,” one of them told the Post. “That’s a lot of credits to acquire in such a short period of time.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 10:53 am, October 12, 2011
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