Recess reinstated for Jefferson Parish Public Schools

Recess at JP schools

JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - There was a heated Jefferson Parish School Board meeting Thursday night after some parents learned their kids weren't getting recess anymore. They showed up to get the free time back.

Amy Stevens organized an online petition after learning that recess was cut out of the school day at Schneckenburger Elementary School in Kenner. On Thursday, she and others took their fight to the board.

"Those are times that kids make friends. They need to get out and enjoy their self and get rid of all that energy," said Stevens.

Last week, The Jefferson Parish Public School System gave us this statement about the issue:

"The Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS) enacted a policy regarding recess for students in response to a state mandate that districts add 15 minutes of instructional time to the school day in 2002. JPPSS made the decision to forego recess to include that instructional time. Principals in JPPSS are responsible for scheduling at their schools and decide accordingly to meet their students' needs. Based on the school's testing data, the principal at Schneckenburger Elementary School developed the school year 2016-2017 schedule to add more English Language Arts instructional time to reflect the state guidelines. Teachers are encouraged to include a "brain break" for students that is tied to the classroom activity. Schneckenberger students participate in a daily 45 minute physical education class taught by certified physical education instructors."

But parents we talked to said that's not enough.

"When do they have time to be kids? When do they have time to play and have fun?" said Schneckenburger parent Mike Scherer.

On Thursday, the board sided with parents and voted to immediately reinstate daily recess for all pre-k through fifth-grade students. It can take place during the last 15 minutes of PE class or it's up to each principal to decide where in the school day it should go.

"I do feel kids need recess. I feel we should incorporate recess and look around to our surrounding parishes that seem to be ranked a little bit higher in the state. They all seem to have recess in their schedule," said Jefferson Parish School Board Vice President Melinda Doucet.

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