Florida lawmakers at odds on mandatory recess bill

TAMPA, FL — Florida’s elementary school students are closer to having recess every day, but the battle over the playground continues.

Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved a bill (SB 78) requiring 20 minutes of daily, free-play recess for public-school students in kindergarten through fifth grade. However, the House of Representatives is considering a watered-down version of the bill (HB 67), that blends free play with physical education classes. The House bill includes free-play recess for students in kindergarten through third grade, as part of a P.E. requirement, and only includes mandatory recess on days when students don’t have P.E.

The group Recess for all Florida Students urges parents to contact Representatives and insist that the House pull the Senate version of the bill and take it up for debate on the House floor without any changes or amendments. Contact information provided by Recess for all Florida Students is here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Shape America, among other national organizations, recommend giving elementary students at least 20 minutes of recess each day on top of P.E. classes, and advise against using recess to meet physical education requirements.

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