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Dreaming fondly of playtimes (and crushes) past, senators back mandatory recess

First and second graders have recess at Sexton Elementary School in St. Petersburg Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. Around Florida and particularly in Pinellas County, parents have started pushing for public schools to bring back recess in elementary school.

LARA CERRI | Times

First and second graders have recess at Sexton Elementary School in St. Petersburg Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. Around Florida and particularly in Pinellas County, parents have started pushing for public schools to bring back recess in elementary school.

16

March

Appropriations Committee senators had a little nostalgic fun today while approving SB 78, a bill to require minimum standards for elementary school recess statewide.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, would require each district school board to provide students between kindergarten and fifth grade with 20 minutes of daily recess. Some districts already do that, but others do not. This was the bill's second committee stop.

“Imagine being the teacher in charge of 25 7-year-olds sitting in the same chair for six hours,” Flores said. “That would be a challenge.”

During the brief debate over the bill, Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, garnered chuckles with a reminiscence from her own school days.

“I remember recess -- it was when I developed a crush on many little boys,” she told the committee.

She argued that kids today need time away from video in order to develop better social skills. Looking at Flores, she concluded, “So, thanks for this great crush-recess bill.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, recalled that one of the bill’s supporters in the audience -- John Trombetta, the president and CEO of the Florida State Alliance of YMCAs -- had once been a student of his.

“If he had had a little recess, he probably would not have spent so much time in my office,” Montford joked.

Representatives of the American Heart Association, the Florida School Nutrition Association, the Society of Health and Physical Education also registered their support for the measure. The committee approved the bill unanimously.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 16, 2017 3:03pm]

    

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