An Act concerning recess in public elementary schools and supplementing chapter 35 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
3[1. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. Currently 16% of the nation’s children are overweight, and an increasing number of children are developing cardiovascular risk factors and type 2 diabetes;
b. The United States Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Department of Education, and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommend that school-aged children should participate in at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity;
c. Participation in a regularly scheduled recess period provides an opportunity for children to engage in essential physical activity and to establish healthy habits early in life;
d. Recess also affords a child the opportunity to practice skills such as cooperation, communication, and creativity, and a break from the day’s routine improves attention, focus, behavior, and learning in the classroom; and
e. Because recess is such a vital component of a comprehensive school physical activity program and the total educational experience for elementary school students, it is therefore in the best interest of the elementary students in this State that they be provided with a daily recess period.]3
3[2.] 1. a.3 Beginning with the first full school year
following the effective date of this act, a public school district shall
provide a daily recess period of at least 20 minutes for students in grades
kindergarten through 5. The recess period shall be held outdoors, if feasible.
A student shall not be denied recess for any reason, except as a consequence of
a violation of the district’s code of student conduct, including a harassment,
intimidation, or bullying investigation pursuant to P.L.2002,
c.83 (C.18A:37-13 et seq.). 3If
a student is denied recess, except under conditions set forth in subsection b. of this section, the student shall be provided restorative justice activities during the recess period.3 A 3[1school district, whenever possible, shall avoid denying a1]3 student 1[may not be denied]1 3may not be denied3 recess more than twice per week.
3A school district shall not be required to provide a recess period on a school day in which the day is substantially shortened due to a delayed opening or early dismissal.
The recess period shall not be used to meet the course requirements set forth in N.J.S.18A:35-5.
b.3 Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit school staff from denying recess for a student on the advice of a medical professional, school nurse, or based on the provisions of a student’s 504 plan.
3[A school district shall not be required to provide a recess period on a school day in which the day is substantially shortened due to a delayed opening or early dismissal.
The recess period shall not be used to meet the course requirements set forth in N.J.S.18A:35-5]
c. For purposes of this section, “restorative justice activities” means activities designed to improve the socioemotional and behavioral responses of students through the use of more appropriate, and less punitive, interventions thereby establishing a more supportive and inclusive school culture3 .
3[3.] 2.3 This act shall take effect 3[2[immediately] in the 2019-2020 school year2] immediately3.
Requires school districts to provide daily recess period for students in grade kindergarten through 5; permits denial of recess for violation of code of student conduct but student must be provided restorative justice activities.