LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Polk County Schools Superintendent Kathryn LeRoy is hosting a town hall meeting Tuesday to talk about the importance of recess at elementary schools. The meeting is the result of one Lakeland mom’s push for more playtime.
Amanda Lipham started a petition on Change.org when she realized her 5-year-old son was not having daily recess and seemed to be losing enthusiasm for school. Polk County requires 150 hours of PE classes each week, but there are no current requirements for recess.
“Recess is a vital part of child development and it shouldn’t be withheld based on academic or punitive reasons,” said Lipham. “It’s a vital part of their education socially, mentally, physically. It’s necessary. So we just need to demand it.”
More than 2,600 people have now signed Lipham’s petition.
“The public is really just saying this is unacceptable. We need to change it now and I have been surprised how quickly that has happened,” explained Lipham.
The Polk County School Board will consider new recess requirements at a meeting next month. Tuesday’s town hall meeting will be held in the cafeteria at Highlands Grove Elementary in Lakeland, at 4510 Lakeland Highlands Road, from 5 to 6 p.m.