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School board approves recess

By Greg Gelpi

Clayton County students may soon have reading, writing, arithmetic and now recess as part of their school day.

The Clayton County Board of Education voted 7-0 to revise school policy Monday to allow principals to choose whether or not to include an "unstructured break time" or recess for students.

The move brought praise from both the Clayton County Coalition for Quality Education and the Clayton County Education Association.

"This is a good start, but I would like to see it go further to give children a chance to be children for a few minutes," Mary Baker said, addressing the members of the board. "I would like to see a recess added to the end of lunch."

If the state sees fit for a 15-minute break for every four hours of work for adults, then students should be afforded the same opportunity for down time, said Baker, the president of the Clayton County Coalition for Quality Education. Students shouldn't be required to sit with their classmates in silence during lunch and then be ushered back to class without a chance to work off energy. The breaks allow students to get out the energy that it's obvious they have.

The Georgia General Assembly legislated that all school boards must adopt written policy stating whether or not the school system allows "unstructured break time." The state permitted school systems to incorporate the recess time if it aids student learning.

Board members Nedra Ware and Linda Crummy were absent from the meeting, which marked the final meeting for the two, along with Bob Livingston, Carol Kellam and Barbara Wells.

Five new board members will be sworn in later this month. Ware, Kellam and Wells were defeated in elections, while Livingston and Crummy chose not to seek re-election.