Va. Beach parents push school board to implement longer recess times

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A group of Virginia Beach parents are continuing their fight for more recess for elementary students. A petition for more play time has gathered hundreds of signatures.

In one month, the group “More Virginians for Recess-Virginia Beach” has received signatures from more than 600 supporters in an online petition and it continues to grow. 

“They need to swing, they need to run they need to move,” said Amy Lamp.

Lamp spoke to board members on Tuesday night about what she said is a critical need for more time outside of the classroom and earlier in the day too, for children.

“At least at the school that my son goes to, he doesn’t get to even go to PE until 2:00 in the afternoon, 2:10 to be exact,” Lamp said.

IN NORFOLK: Norfolk parents pushing for more recess time for elementary students

MORE: Va. public schools can extend recess this upcoming school year with new law

Lamp said recess is crucial for all children’s development, including her son with special needs. 

“My child, for example, the first time he said his ABCs successfully, he was in a swing and he was swinging in a therapy session,” she said. “I cried because I had never heard him say his ABCs before.”

This past July, a law went into effect that allows schools to increase recess up to 50 minutes. WAVY was told a work group made up of parents and school district leaders plans to meet soon to discuss how to make more recess a reality.

“I do believe at the elementary level that personally that the kids do need unstructured time,” said Carolyn Weems, a Virginia Beach school board member.

Weems said she backs the initiative, but figuring out how to make it work for everyone could take some time.

“I think that’s best for the students to have those two different breaks but then how logistically is that going to work with the teachers’ other responsibilities,” Weems said. “That’s where the superintendent, when I talk to him, he is looking into that.”

The group is encouraging parents to attend the school board meetings. A link to the petition can be found here.

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