Polk community meeting to discuss putting recess back in schools

LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) – A Lakeland mother believes Polk County school children are one step closer to the playground.

Tuesday from 5-6pm, Polk County parents are set to sit down with the schools superintendent, and will try to convince her to bring daily recess back to elementary schools.

A couple weeks ago the sit-down opportunity is just what Amanda Lipham hoped for: a chance to talk more than three minutes before the people who can bring back the 20 minutes of play she thinks are vital for a young mind.

Lipham likes where this is going. First she created her “bring back recess” petition, which more than 2500 people signed.

Next she shared her mission in three minutes before the Polk County School Board.

Her words were enough to spur the schools superintendent to host an hour’s worth of discussion about implementing daily recess in elementary schools.

It’s a move she believes shows the decision-makers take her argument seriously.

“I think they’re going to implement some steps to have recess for every child kindergarten through fifth grade,” Lipham said of her optimism about the district’s response thus far.

Now dubbed “The recess lady” around town, Lipham’s efforts have already resolved the issue that got this fight started.

Her kindergarten son, who was only getting free-play once a week, is now burning energy like never before.

“He is getting outside everyday but I’m still fighting for the ones that don’t get that chance,” Lipham said,

Her fight isn’t alone- once she started, dozens of parents, teachers and grandparents like Sharon McKelvey joined in.

“I couldn’t believe- how can they not have recess for kids,” McKelvey said.  “Their brains aren’t wired to sit that long and pay attention and behave,” she added.

While her hopes are high kids across the county will soon run and play every day, Lipham knows there’s a chance it could take some time.

“If for some reason changes aren’t made, we’re going to keep fighting,” Lipham said.   “The public is still behind us we’re going to let them know it’s unacceptable, they need 20 minutes a day, every day,” she added.

The meeting will take place Tuesday from 5-6pm at Highlands Grove Elementary School on Lakeland Highlands Road.


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