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Recess Roadblock: Bill will not move forward in Florida

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Posted at 9:26 AM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 09:26:00-05

SARASOTA, Fla.-- If it was up to kids, schools would likely have recess all day, but one group of Florida parents is asking for just 20 minutes a day, in a bill that would set a statewide recess requirement for elementary schools. They say those few minutes in the sun do more than help kids break a sweat. They say it can actually help with academic performance too. 

Studies from places like Stanford University or the Centers for Disease Control have shown that even a small break away from the desk can make all the difference to a child's social and emotional health.

So far the bill passed the Florida House of Representatives almost unanimously but faced opposition in the Senate and will no longer be considered. The Chairman of the Senate's education committee, Senator John Legg, said a "one size fits all approach" won't work. Instead, he says it's something best left up to each local school district. 

For Chuck Wolbert's 7-year old grandson Jacob, recess is a crucial part of the day.

"It's important for kids to take that mental break from the classroom," said Wolbert. "They need to go outside, burn off some energy, and then come back and concentrate a little bit more."

Jacob has ADHD, and exerting energy on the playground, helps him focus in the classroom.

"The poor kids just sit there all day long going when are we getting a break, when is school out and it makes them anxious to get our of school instead of wanting to stay there and learn more," said Wolbert.