KB Reference Desk: Recess

Q:      A second grader has been assigned classroom detention during recess for 3 days this week due to bad behavior in the classroom. The child’s parent is claiming that the student is required to participate in recess every day. Can the classroom teacher assign the student lunch detention or otherwise suspend a child from recess as a form of discipline? 

 A:     Yes, students can be suspended from recess. However, in so doing, the administration must ensure that the suspension does not take the student below the minimum 135 minutes of physical activity required weekly for elementary students. 

Any suspension of physical activity in grades K-5 requires consideration of the total number of minutes the student participates in moderate to vigorous physical activity weekly. The Texas Education Code at section 28.002 requires 30 minutes per day or “if the district determines, for any particular grade level, that requiring moderate or vigorous daily physical activity is impractical due to scheduling concerns or other factors, the district may as an alternative require a student in that grade level to participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity for at least 135 minutes during each school week.” An exemption, of course, can be provided for any student who is unable to participate due to illness or disability. These rules apply to full day pre-K programs as well.

Middle School students have similar physical activity requirements. Students in grades 6-8 are required to engage in 30 minutes of structured vigorous activity every school day for at least four semesters during those grade levels.  If the campus uses block scheduling, the Education Code requires a minimum of 255 minutes during each period of two school weeks. Participation in extracurricular activities, and in some instances activities sponsored by a private club or league, can satisfy the physical activity requirements. High school students need only ensure that they have at least one credit in physical education and that 50% of the course includes actual physical activity. For more information, see policies EHAB and EHAC (LEGAL) and (LOCAL).