By Richard Elliot
ATLANTA — A state lawmaker in Georgia wants to make recess mandatory for school children from kindergarten to fifth grade.
State Rep. Demetrius Douglas, a Democrat, introduced a bill that would require school districts to allow children recess time. The bill would also prevent schools from keeping students out of recess as a punishment.
“Kids in school need an outlet,” said Douglas, a former University of Georgia and NFL football player. “We have a lot of problems in school with behavior, chronic diseases, that I used to see in my grandmother at a later age, and we need to get kids moving again.”
Douglas said recess is “on the books” in Georgia, but allowing it is up to the discretion of superintendents and principals. He wants to codify it into law.
Nan Fischer, who runs Montessori Intown School, a private school, would not be affected by the law, but she believes recess is essential to a child’s physical and intellectual growth.
“It’s extremely important,” said Fischer. “It’s very important to growing children to move their bodies so that they feel comfortable in order to participate in the classroom.”
The bill had a committee hearing Tuesday afternoon. It will have to reach the floor of the House before Crossover Day if it has any chance at becoming law.