Parents angry after Kenner elementary school cuts recess

Jade Cunnigham talks about a decision to cut recess at a local elementary school.

KENNER, La. - A move to cut recess at a Kenner elementary school is not sitting well with some.

Jefferson Parish Public Schools said campus officials recently made the decision for the current school year.

Parents at Walter G. Schneckenburger Elementary are outraged.

"School is number one, I agree on that," said Veeda Payne, whose grandson attends the school. "But what they're trying to do to elementary, little children, is crazy."

Angry that recess is no more.

"We found out that this year, the new principal was implementing that they didn't do recess, that they did more learning," said Neil Arceneaux, who's another concerned parent. When asked if that made Arceneaux upset, he said, "Yes it does."

Mike Sherer said he's seen a change in his son's behavior.

"He was coming home with a lot of extra energy, bouncing off the walls and running around crazy," he said.

He adds that having a small break means big things for a student's success.

"That's their time to decompress, process the knowledge they've been taught throughout the day," Sherer said. "That's where you make your friendships and you build social relationships."

Jefferson Parish Public Schools released the following statement on the current situation:

"The Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS) enacted a policy regarding recess for students in response to a state mandate that districts add 15 minutes of instructional time to the school day in 2002. JPPSS made the decision to forego recess to include that instructional time. Principals in JPPSS are responsible for scheduling at their schools and decide accordingly to meet their students' needs. Based on the school's testing data, the principal at Schneckenburger Elementary School developed the school year 2016-2017 schedule to add more English Language Arts instructional time to reflect the state guidelines. Teachers are encouraged to include a "brain break" for students that is tied to the classroom activity. Schneckenberger students participate in a daily 45-minute physical education class taught by certified physical education instructors."

"I can't sit for seven hours straight, why would we expect 6, 7, 8, 9-year-olds to sit for seven hours?" said Payne.

In terms of the P.E. class, some parents argue that's not enough.

"P.E. is a structured, organized, graded class," said Payne. "It's not free time for little children to run outside and get their energy out and be able to go back in class and re-focus."

"I think they need their free time to do their own, to use their own mind, do what they want to do," said Arceneaux. "Kids have to play, they have to socialize, they have to be a kid. They have to learn, but you have to be a kid first."


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