Parents Push for More Recess in New Haven Schools


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Parents in New Haven called for change after realizing that children in some schools were not given time for recess.

One parent, Tanhee Cookson Muhammad learnedthat her son Enaji was denied the right to recess as a form of punishment. At some schools children only have recess on days that they don’t have PE class.

This led Muhammad to join up with a group of local parent advocates, who decided to create a petition as part of a campaign called Recess For All.

The petition requests that all public school children, in grades K-8, receive at least 20 minutes of recess a day.

Accordingto a state bill passed in 2012, children in grades K-5th are required to receive at least 20 minutes of physical activity throughout the schoolday. Still, not enough schools are enforcing this new policy and children often do not meet this requirement.

After voicing her concerns at a Citywide Parent Leadership Team (CPLT) meeting, the school district agreed to create a taskforce, to develop a school recess policy, with guidelines on how to implement recess.

The task force, charged with creating the new policy, is made up of parents, teachers, and administrators.

These are some guidelines in the current draft of the recess policy:

  • Recess should be available to kids in grades K-6th, for at least 20 minute a day
  • Recess should not be a substitute for gym class
  • Recess should be outdoors whenever possible, regardless of temperature
  • Staff should not take away recess for disciplinary reasons


According to the New Haven Independent, Marc Gonzalez, a student from East Rock Community Magnet School looks forward to the changes new policy will bring to his school.

Recess “just helps with the school day,” he said.

The task force is currently still working to finalize the recess policy and plans to either pilot the implementation of the new policy in the fall of 2013 or implement it immediately.

Read the full article from the New Haven Independent.

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of Latino parents support public funding for afterschool programs

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