Growing Number Of Teachers Denounce Recently Passed Bill Guaranteeing 30 Minutes Of Recess A Day

A growing number of teachers across the state have continued to denounce a bill signed into law earlier this month that guarantees at least 30 minutes of recess a day, with many saying that schools need to be flexible on the amount of recess time given due to multiple factors based on the individual school.

Senate Bill 291, authored by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), specifically requires that, commencing with the 2024–25 school year, recess provided by a public or charter school for grades K-8 is to be at least 30 minutes on regular instructional days and at least 15 minutes on early release days. The bill would prohibit school staff members from restricting a pupil’s recess unless there is an immediate threat to the physical safety of the pupil or the physical safety of one or more of the pupil’s peers.

Senator Newman authored SB 291 because of studies showing the importance of recess. Specifically, Newman cited a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics that found that recess “serves as a critical outlet and break for students to reset their minds and bodies during otherwise structured school days filled with academic demands.” He also noted the social, emotional, and physical needs of recess during a school day.

“As California finally emerges from the pandemic and its impacts, we are seeing some of the lingering effects on children’s social-emotional development play out in the form of behavioral disruptions which have become increasingly prevalent in classrooms,” said Senator Newman in a statement earlier this year. “As schools and students seek to recover from COVID-related educational disruptions, the benefits of the unstructured play and peer-to-peer social interactions offered by recess are more important now than ever.”

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