One hour lunch/recess in NV Elementary Schools!!!! (30 min lunch & 30 min recess)

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Our Elementary children deserve to have an hour lunch/recess period in Clark County School District & in Nevada State. This promotes healthy eating habits & healthy lifestyle habits. This is not a request to extend the existing time frame of school - it is a request for the State/County to create a consistent process for our children to have a fundamental right - enough time to eat and exercise during the school day.

Currently our children receive ONLY 15/20 minutes for each block! This is an incredible deterrent to our elementary students who should have enough time to wash their hands before and after they eat. The teachers and students are being deprived the 20 minute dedicated sitting down to eat policy recommended by the state. Our school districts refuse to do anything about requirements for hand washing.

With over 300,000 students, 35,000 employees, 336 schools and an annual budget of $5.2 billion, the Clark County School District is the fifth-largest school district in the nation.

According to the State of Nevada school wellness policy: "9. Meal Consumption:It is the intent of this policy to allow each student adequate time to eat their meals, therefore, time spent acquiring the meal is not included in the time to consume the meal.  Each school district shall: Provide at least 15 minutes for each student to consume the breakfast meal (providing the school offers breakfast); and provide at least 20 minutes for each student to consume the lunch meal." 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture and the Nevada State Department of Agriculture, 20 minutes minimum is required from the time the children sit down at the table.

My child and other parents/children have told me this is not the reality...  They say the clock starts the minute the children line up in their classroom...The clock is also running for the students that have to stand in line to get hot lunch. This leaves them very little time to actually eat. Sadly, for low income and subsidized lunch children this could literally be the only meal they get for the whole day.

The tables are "dismissed" by a teacher- which means the students have to get up to go outside for recess...My 8-year-old tells me she walks really slow so she can keep eating her sandwich before she has to put it in her lunch bag and go outside. Some children actually throw their lunch away so they don't get punished by their parents for not finishing their lunch!

As far as recess goes in the State of Nevada: Did you know that morning and afternoon recess is now almost obsolete? I encourage you to ask your children if they get a morning or afternoon recess. Did you know that lunch is the only physical activity most of  these children are getting unless they have PE that day? According to these same wellness guidelines:

Physical activity:

A. All schools will provide the opportunity for at least 30 minutes daily for moderate to vigorous physical activity.
B. Passing periods do not qualify as physical activity time.
C. Teachers, school personnel, and community personnel will not use physical
activity, or withhold opportunities for physical activity (e.g., recess, physical
education), as punishment.
D. It is recommended that students be given physical activity opportunities in
bouts of 10 minutes at a minimum...(I'm no math expert but is anyone else doing the calculations in your head? It seems that physical activities per the state minimum guidelines are most certainly not achieved.)

We in Nevada State are not the only schools having the same problem- there are so many petitions from parents addressing this exact same issue nationwide- I was shocked...The City of Anchorage in Alaska is having the same dilemma w/ a 45 minute block for recess/lunch combo... I found this on their petition: "There is a lot of research that states how important recess is not just to physical health, but also to learning.  Schools that have increased the time for recess have seen improvements in academic performance and decreases in behavior issues.  Kids with more recess can learn the same amount of material in a shorter amount of time."

These types of studies (plenty of them!) should address our teachers concerns the school day would be extended. The fact is the teachers don't have time to eat lunch either! They currently have a choice of a 30/60 unpaid lunch which most of them work through in order to grade papers/plan curriculums. Some of the teachers I spoke with advised they include time in the afternoon for their students to finish the remaining portion of their lunch if it's not distractive during lessons. Some teachers do this even though they fear they'll lose their jobs. How is this OK? How are we as parents and taxpayers supposed to think this is the new norm?- No child should be taught to eat "military style"!

15 minutes is not enough time for our children to get the nutrition/exercise they need to promote a healthy active lifestyle. We parents are frustrated that our children come home starving and we are throwing away food they didn't have time to eat.

Clark County School District has advised their hands are tied as they are mandated by the State of Nevada Educational Board and their guidelines. The State of Nevada Educational Board Members are simply going off the national standard guidelines set forth by the Department of Agriculture... If they haven't figured it out's not working!!! The "recommendations", "guidelines" and "wellness standards" are simply lazy and convenient terms to use so no one is held liable to a consistent process. No system is accountable with these guidelines.

Please contact our Governor, Clark County School District, County Commissioners, The Department of Agriculture & the Nevada State Board of Education Members to demand these rights! Some of the decision makers I have attached for this petition actually removed their email addresses from this petition?! This is not right as they were elected or appointed and have a responsibility to their constituents.

Please sign this petition to help the movement of a healthy environment for  our Elementary children in the state of Nevada to have a 1 hour block combo of both lunch and recess! The 15 minutes is not a law- It is a guideline and should be changed without electoral process. Nevada State is a progressive and forward-thinking place to live. Let's be one of the first states to change the national standard back to one hour!


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