LAKELAND, FLA. (WFLA) — With a sign reading “Recess For All,” Amanda Lipham took her crusade from the sidewalk to the school board in Lakeland. “It’s not just for my son. It’s for every child in Polk County, throughout the state and throughout the nation,” Lipham said Tuesday.
After months of battling to bring recess to every student in Polk County, parents finally had the chance to sit down with Superintendent Kathryn LeRoy in town hall-style meeting on Tuesday night in Lakeland.
Playing on the jungle gym is nothing LeRoy is against, but she claims her hands are tied by rigid state requirements dictating how much unstructured and structured, such as physical education classes, kids receive each day.
“I know that we have at least 150 minutes of physical education occurring as mandated by the state,” LeRoy said. “If our community would like to go out for a referendum to add 30 minutes to the day, which will cost us about $30 million in order to incorporate, then I am all for that, as well.”
It’s important for parent Joanna Vann that children be allowed to run around and play in the fresh air. Vann’s son currently does not have recess. She isn’t happy with the answers LeRoy gave.
“He doesn’t get to go outdoors and run around or release any energy or play with his friends. He goes to lunch and they can’t talk there,” Vann said.
Her goal is to get her son one step closer to the playground and she isn’t sure this meeting did anything to accomplish that. “I just feel like it was more going around in a circle. We still aren’t getting any answers,” Vann said.
LeRoy is now forming a team of parents who will look at the issue more closely and will bring their recommendations back to the school board on Nov. 30th.
Currently, 15 out of the 71 elementary schools in Polk County do not have recess.