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Withholding Recess for Disciplinary Reasons Declining

Children are sometimes kept in from recess as a disciplinary measure, but thanks to studies showing play and exercise support classroom learning, fewer students are now having recess taken away, according to Education Week. The publication reports that many schools have implemented policies to limit the use of withholding recess as a form of punishment.

Those in support of the new policies cite the benefits that physical exercise and unstructured play can have for children. Education Week quotes practitioners.

‘That physical activity and play, those things are not luxuries for kids,’ said Sara Zimmerman, the technical-assistance director of the Oakland, Calif.-based Safe Routes to School National Partnership, which advocates increased physical activity for students. ‘That’s a key part of how kids learn and how they grow.

‘A lot of times the kids who lose physical activity are the ones who need it most,’ said Emily O’Winter, the wellness coordinator for Jefferson County schools in Colorado. ‘It can have a snowball effect.’

However, some say that taking recess away can sometimes be an appropriate consequence for some students, and that educators should be allowed discretion in choosing appropriate disciplinary measures.

What do you think? Can withholding recess be a useful disciplinary tool?

2 Comments
  1. SusyS #

    There are only so many hours in a school day. Is it better to take away math? Consequences have to be factored in somewhere. Better to reinforce expected behavior at a young age than try to reform an older child.

    April 20, 2015
  2. Marcus #

    Luckily, Connecticut has a state statute asking BOE for a policy addressing recess…. Sec. 10-221o. Lunch periods. Recess. Boards to adopt policies addressing limitation of physical exercise. (a) Each local and regional board of education shall require each school under its jurisdiction to (1) offer all full day students a daily lunch period of not less than twenty minutes, and (2) include in the regular school day for each student enrolled in elementary school time devoted to physical exercise of not less than twenty minutes in total, except that a planning and placement team may develop a different schedule for a child requiring special education and related services in accordance with chapter 164 and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, 20 USC 1400 et seq., as amended from time to time. In the event of a conflict with this section and any provision of chapter 164, such other provision of chapter 164 shall be deemed controlling.

    April 20, 2015

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