Petition to the Manatee County School Board to Reinstate 30 Minutes of Daily Recess in all Manatee County Elementary Schools
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To: Robert C. Gause, Board Chair
Dave “Watchdog” Miner, Vice Chair
Mary Cantrell, Board Member
Karen Carpenter, Board Member
Charlie Kennedy, Board Member
Date: February 4, 2015
We, the undersigned, current and future parents and caregivers of students in the Manatee County School District, taxpayers and residents of Manatee County, petition the Manatee County School Board to adopt into the Manatee County School District’s Policies and Procedures a scheduled time for all students in kindergarten through 8th grade to receive daily supervised, unstructured recess time, preferably outdoors, 5 days per week, for a minimum of 30 consecutive minutes per day so as to allow all students the opportunity to obtain a high quality, uniform education as required under the laws of the State of Florida.
We support this petition for the following reasons:
VIOLATION OF THE LAW BY MANATEE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT:
A growing number of elementary schools in Manatee County, Florida have substantially reduced or no longer have daily recess. Currently, of 33 elementary schools in Manatee County: 3 schools do not have recess, 2 schools do not provide scheduled recess and 2 schools only provide structured recess as part of their physical education classes. This is not only unfair to those children who do not get the much needed break recess provides but is also a violation of our students’ rights under the law.
●Article IX, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Florida, which provides, in relevant part:
“The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education and for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of institutions of higher learning and other public education programs that the needs of the people may require...”
●Section 1000.01(2) of the Florida Statutes, provides, in relevant part:
“The purpose of the Florida K-20 Education Code is to provide by law for a state system of schools, courses, classes, and educational institutions and services adequate to allow, for all Florida’s students, the opportunity to obtain a high quality education...”
●Section 1000.01(4) of the Florida Statutes, provides, in relevant part:
“As required by s. 1, Art. IX of the State Constitution, the Florida K-20 education system shall include the uniform system of free public K-12 schools...”
Research has shown that recess, defined as unstructured time outdoors, provides numerous benefits to children’s academic success and physical wellbeing. These benefits are in addition to those provided by structured physical education classes. Removal of this important time for students to refocus, socially interact, and gain exercise interferes with the goal to provide them with a high quality education, and especially, to provide recess to some students and not to others is an injustice. All students in Manatee County deserve the benefits of a recess break during the school day, and not giving it to them harms the children that this community seeks to nurture.
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY:
●The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children and adolescents participate in 1 hour of physical activity daily. We recognize that the demands of parents work schedules and amount of homework students are required to complete substantially reduces the ability of families to participate in physical activity after school.
●The American Academy of Pediatrics has found that school recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child's development and shouldn't be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.
●The National Association for Sport and Physical Education clearly distinguishes recess and physical education classes and advises that recess does not replace physical education classes.
●The National Association for Sport and Physical Education advises that “Recess is not viewed as a reward but as a necessary educational support component for all children. Therefore students should not be denied recess so they can complete class work or as a means of punishment.”
ACADEMIC BENEFITS OF RECESS
●Substantial evidence indicates that physical activity and recess can help improve cognitive skills, attitudes, academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores, and academic behavior, including enhanced concentration, attention, and improved classroom behavior.
●Research has shown that all children are more on task and less fidgety and have been shown to have improved memory and were better behaved after a significant break or recess.
PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF RECESS
●Regular physical activity builds healthy bones and muscles, improves muscular strength and endurance, reduces the risk of obesity and chronic diseases related to obesity, improves self esteem and reduces stress and anxiety.
●Children become progressively inattentive when deprived of a significant break or recess.
●Children who are inactive in school also tend to be inactive after school.
●During the last 3 decades, the prevalence of obesity has tripled among persons aged 6-19 years. Multiple chronic disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, high blood glucose levels and diabetes are related to obesity. Schools have a responsibility to help prevent obesity and promote physical activity and healthy eating through policies, practices, and supportive environments.
●Obesity is a lifelong issue. Children and adolescents must learn to enjoy healthy foods and to exercise regularly. Daily recess helps develop a lifelong habit and love of participating in outdoor activities.
We, the undersigned, petition the Manatee County School Board to adopt into the Manatee County School District’s Policies and Procedures a scheduled time for all students in kindergarten through 8th grade to have daily supervised, unstructured recess time, preferably outdoors, 5 days per week, for a minimum of 30 consecutive minutes per day so as to allow all students the opportunity to obtain a high quality, uniform education as required under the laws of the State of Florida.