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State Rep. looks to stop non-structured physical activity school requirements
Jan. 13, 2017: Last year, lawmakers approved a measure to make students more active at school, but now one representative is trying to undo those requirements.
Madison Wade, WBIR 11:32 PM. EST January 13, 2017
For the past year in Tennessee schools, recess wasn't the only chance students had to release some energy.
Senate Bill 1983 was passed last year to help children stay active at school.
In particular, it set various weekly time requirements for elementary schools in different grades to provide non-structured physical activity outside P.E.
Months after it was implemented, schools say the goals are difficult to meet and now, state lawmakers are working to get rid of the requirements.
"There just aren't enough hours in the day to do it," said Lauren Hopson, the President of the Knox County Education Association.
She said the requirements were difficult to meet for students and staff.
"It's not working well with lunch time and the time that kids need to have breaks during the day," she added.
State Representative Bill Dunn filed a bill to repeal the law Friday.
"It really has not worked. I almost want to say it's a disaster because as our elementary, middle and high schools try to follow the prescription, it just does not work," Dunn said.
Hopson was hopeful to hear the law was going to be revisited.
"I think it's something that was a good idea in theory but it didn't translate well to the classroom, and it's really caused a lot of headaches for the administrators and teachers alike," Hopson said.
She says physical activity is very important for students which is why she believes recess shouldn't be limited.
"If our schools go back to keeping that 30 minutes of recess time sacred, I think we'll be fine," she added.
Dunn wants to leave it up to the school systems to decide what to do next.
"I think this might be something where the local schools need to decide how best do we burn off that energy that students may have," Dunn said.