Recently I met with a family involved in a discipline dispute with a school district. During our discussion, it came up that the boy who had gotten into trouble had not had any recesses for a long period of time due to continuing behavior issues. Although this was not the main focus of our discussion, what the family reported to me was disturbing simply as this was the "new" schedule of this boy, one with NO RECESS. Additionally, the withholding of his recesses did NOT solve his behavior issues.
Per California Education Code section 44807.5:
My comment on this is:
1) The school board must actually have adopted such a policy to allow a teacher to do this, and
2) The rules and/or regulations must be "reasonable," and
3) The restriction itself must be reasonable in length of time and duration (e.g. how many days).
No kid should be kept in from every recess. Youths need to get out of the classroom to have a break, run around, and just interact socially with other kids. If this is not allowed, the conduct for which the youth is being punished may, in fact, worsen. This is because if a child is "overpunished," (by e.g.via missing all recesses with no hope of getting them back) the punishment may no longer have the desired impact. The child may instead not be motivated to "act good," as acting good has no impact anyway. They give up. The teacher's recess restriction may also result in a negative image regarding the student, as he or she may be labelled as a troublemaker and may be ostracized and/or looked down upon by his or her peer group.
Additionally, if such restrictions are occurring, the school may effectively be put on notice that they need to take action to address the issues. A Student Study Team (SST) meeting, behavior assessment, or other actions could be in order.
School is not only about academics, but is also about socialization, exercise, life, and fun. It should not be such that it becomes a prison where a student never gets let out of the cage. That would hardly be beneficial for anyone
Education Law Attorney
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814