Georgia lawmaker wants to make recess mandatory for elementary schools

ATLANTA — A Henry County lawmaker wants to make recess mandatory for elementary schools all across Georgia, and he’s trying for the third time to make it happen.

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State Rep. Demetrius Douglas (D - Stockbridge believes the two-year pandemic has only worsened the obesity problem among school-aged children in Georgia. He also worries a lack of physical exercise will hurt children’s mental health as well.


The bill would require school districts to have recess for students from kindergarten to fifth grade.

“For the last two years, our kids have been pent up, and our obesity rate has gone through the roof,” Douglas said. “It was bad back when I started. It’s worse now.”

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Douglas was an All-American linebacker at UGA. He also played pro football in the U.S. and Canada, and has coached many high school players. This will be the third time he’s tried to get this bill passed. Douglas said it actually did pass both the House and Senate in 2019 only to be vetoed by the governor. He said the governor thought a recess policy would be better handled at the local district level.

“I know how important this is for their cognitive learning, and some of the behavioral problems that they have in elementary school, they won’t have,” Douglas said. “And the teachers need a break.”

The bill will get a committee hearing Friday morning.