play yard -vs- prison yard: which sucks more?

 

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Here’s some neat information for you. Let me just cut to the chase:

In Texas, we have measures that ensure our children get physical education. The law states:

A school district shall require a student enrolled in full-day prekindergarten, in kindergarten, or in a grade level below grade six to participate in moderate or vigorous daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes throughout the school year as part of the district’s physical education curriculum or through structured activity during a school campus’s daily recess.  

If a school district determines, for any particular grade level below grade six, 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. 

In other words..Pre-K through fifth grade gets 30 minutes a of structured moderate to physical activity each day. Unless, of course, the school cannot schedule 30 minutes each day. Then they get 135 minutes somehow during the week.

A school district shall require students enrolled in grade levels six, seven, and eight to participate in moderate or vigorous daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes for at least four semesters during those grade levels as part of the district’s physical education curriculum. 
So, three years equals six semesters. That means only two years of P.E. Unless, they use block scheduling…

Additionally, a school district may as an alternative require a student enrolled in a grade level for which the district uses block scheduling to participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity for at least 225 minutes during each period of two school weeks. 
 Not sure how that works out…but basically, it boils down to almost four hours every two weeks of moderate to vigorous activity. Except that, the law also: 
requires that, on a weekly basis, at least 50 percent of the physical education class be used for actual student physical activity and that the activity be, to the extent practicable, at a moderate or vigorous level;
What? Let’s try that again.
  • kids are mandated 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day (150/week) during P.E. or a structured recess
  • or they get 135 minutes a week..
  • 15 minutes of those 30 minutes have to actual student physical activity (huh?)
  • ooooh…it’s because of the  “E” in P.E.

Remember, recess is not mandatory in Texas. Also, to schools, “recess” can mean different things…like extra time to study or a handy behavior modification tool. Some kids can have recess if they’re good or taken away as punishment. My kid’s class does not get recess if they talk too loud at lunch. Not my kid in particular…any kid. If one kid talks to loud…none of them get it.

geez, it’s not like they’re in prison. no, really..it’s not.

Just out of curiosity, I thought I’d take a look at how prisons felt about physical activity and yard time. The laws for Texas prisoners state this:

Each facility shall have and implement a written plan, approved by the Commission, for inmate physical exercise and physical recreation. Documentation of physical exercise and physical recreation shall be maintained for Commission review. Each inmate shall be allowed one hour of supervised physical exercise or physical recreation at least three days per week.  

That breaks down to 180 minutes a week or 26 minutes a day (over seven days). They get exercise or have physical recreation (prison recess…). And then, they document it.

 It further says:

Activities such as arts, crafts, cards, dominoes, checkers, chess, and similar diversions should be considered as possible non-physical recreational activites.  

 Because prisoners read, too:

Each facility shall have and implement a written plan approved by the Commission for providing recreational library services to inmates.

Notice the words “physical recreation”, “non-physical recreation” and “recreation”? Good. Now continue reading about what is not allowed when punishing prisoners in prison for minor infractions (I’m sure waaay more minor than kids talking too loud at lunch, of course):
The following sanctions are prohibited:
(A) deviation from normal feeding procedures
(B) corporal punishment….
Here, let me just skip down to my favorite sanction…
(H) deprivation of physical recreation or physical exercise.

 And the cherry on top: 

 Inmates confined longer than ten days shall be allowed access to sunlight no less than one hour weekly.

So, we can’t spank prisoners, count reading/crafts/similar diversions as physical recreation, or deny their physical recreation or exercise if they misbehave…while in prison?

And let me see if I have this correct. Sunshine is mandated?

Austin, we have a problem.

You can read about the jail standards here. Or just go here and sign the petition for HB 3770 that requires mandatory recess for elementary children…just like convicted felons get.

Well, kind of. Technically, the prisoners get more time…

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2 Responses to “play yard -vs- prison yard: which sucks more?”

  1. Great article! I am disgusted by our schools taking away recess as punishment. The children need a break. It is ridiculous that this is allowed. Amazing that inmates have more acess to sunlight than our children. Go figure!

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