Get moving? Florida schools may be required to have recess

Florida schools could be required to let children out each day for recess under a bill now moving in the Legislature.

A House panel on Tuesday voted unanimously for a bill that would require elementary schools to set aside 20 minutes each day for “free play recess.” Schools could not withhold recess for academic reasons or to punish students.

Mothers of school children testified in favor of the legislation (HB 833) and said children need recess to expend energy and give them a break from schoolwork. Some expressed frustration that school boards have resisted recess time.

One House member said legislators are partly to blame because they have placed academic mandates on school districts.

Florida law already mandates that students spend time on physical education instruction and reading during the week.

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