Local school district shortens recess to 10 minutes

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MENANDS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – One local school is shortening the length of recess, and parents are upset.

The change to shorter recess is taking place in The Menands School. It’s being done to help increase instructional time for students throughout the day, but some parents said it’s doing more harm than good.

“Children deserve time to think on their own and be on their own,” Danielle Churchill said.

Churchill has a daughter that will soon be entering the elementary school in Menands. When it was announced that recess would be 10 minutes, her jaw dropped.

“I think its egregious,” she said. “It’s completely developmentally inappropriate.”

By shortening recess, the school said there will be more time for other classes. Not just the core subjects but also classes like art and technology.

That’s why Eileen McBain supports it.

“It’s not that they are cutting something, but they are adding to something else,” she said.

Her stepson, Jack, is now in the seventh grade. But he remembers recess and the headaches he experienced while on it.

“He likened it to a social hierarchy,” she said.

Jack said he doesn’t mind that it’s being shortened.

“It used to be that some kids wouldn’t be invited to play the games others would,” he said. “Removing recess is like leveling the playing field for all the kids.”

Superintendent Maureen Long said that’s what they’re hoping for. She said kids can still be kids just in other ways.

“We thought that the opportunity for students to participate in other activities still existed,” she said.

But for Churchill, that simply isn’t good enough. She wants her daughter to learn the social skills you can only develop outside the classroom.

“I think if we’re talking about a 10 minute or a 20 minute recess, neither is okay,” she said.

In addition to shortened recess, the school day was also slightly extended. Kids will now get out at 3:03 p.m. instead of 2:58 p.m.


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