Parents renew push for mandatory recess

Kellie Cowan reports

- Recess has been completely erased from the schedule in many of Florida's public elementary schools.  Now, parents across the state are again fighting to take back the playground for their kids

This past spring, a bill introduced in the state Legislature tried to make recess a required part of the school day.

The bill received overwhelming approval in the House, but over in the Senate, it never even made it to the floor for a vote.  Senator John Legg, who at the time was the chamber's education pre-k through 12 chair, wouldn't hear the bill because he said the state should not be mandating recess, arguing it should be left up to the schools themselves.

But parents say that's led to some schools making the decision to cut recess altogether, and that's simply unacceptable to many parents.

"Nobody likes to mandate anything. We understand that. We don't want to tell teachers what to do. They have an education and know what needs to be done for individual students," Christie Barnes offered. "But unfortunately it just seems that the teachers are just so inundated with the things they need to do academically right now that they don't feel like they would be allow to or have time to take a break."

"We want all kids -- regardless of their background or what school they're at -- to have, at least on the days that they're not in PE, to have the time to go outside and get the wiggles out at least for a couple minute," added Stephanie Cox.

The new bill is basically a mirror image of the recess bill that failed this past spring: It would require 20 minutes of recess each day for kindergarten through fifth grade

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