Lakeland mom to address school board, push for school recess

Polk Mom petitions to bring back recess
Amanda Lipham and Elliott Lipham, 5. Facebook photo

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) –  A Polk County mom fighting to bring back school recess is taking it to the next level.  Amanda Lipham is set to speak before the Polk County School Board Tuesday and will plead with them to make changes.

It all started as an aggravation Lipham brought up weeks ago at a playdate.   But once she decided to stop complaining and do something about it, she hasn’t stopped. Two weeks later, she’s not ashamed to say, she’s hardly put her phone down.

“At least 15 hours a day,” she said of the time she devotes to gathering signatures for her online petition. “I just want to keep it going until there’s a change made.”

After her kindergarten son repeatedly told her he only goes outside to play one day a week at school, she started a petition in hopes of catching the attention of those who can change the rules. More than 2,000 signatures in–she’s already noticing differences.

“I’ve actually seen some results in his school,” Lipham said.  “I ask every day, ‘Did you go outside? Did you have recess?’  and he’s actually said yes a lot more than he used to.”

But she wants all Polk County elementary students to get daily recess like they used to.

Not structured physical education, but free-play where they can run, imagine and make friends.

To her it’s about social growth and mental stability.

“It’s worth noting that recess really has a huge effect on their mental health.  I’d much rather be the mom standing here fighting for my child’s mental health today than the mom after a mass shooting saying, Why didn’t we do more to prevent this?’” she said.

Amanda is allowed three minutes to address the board Tuesday.  She has about five other parents who will do the same for this very issue.  Amanda’s been told that any vote for a change is likely a long ways out.  But Tuesday’s board address could lead to a town meeting with the superintendent, she believes, and Amanda would consider that progress.

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