by Amy Alford
Prince Georges’ County Public Schools has a policy on Wellness, Nutrition, and Physical Activity (Administrative Procedure 0116) that specifically prohibits the use of food, physical activity, recess, or physical education as a reward or punishment.
The policy also states that lunch must last at least 30 minutes, and principals must ensure that students have at least 20 minutes to eat. Additionally, it calls for principals to provide a cafeteria environment that is “pleasant and conducive to appropriate food consumption and socialization.”
It may surprise some parents that the policy requires that “all elementary children will have multiple opportunities daily for physical activity lasting 15 minutes or more, in addition to a daily recess period, preferably before lunch.” Earlier in the document, physical activity is defined as, “Any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles those [sic] results in an expenditure of energy.”
Parents may address concerns about their school’s implementation of this procedure with their child’s classroom teacher and the principal. If that is insufficient to resolve the matter, the Office of Constituent Services has a form for parent concerns. They promise that a principal or supervisor will respond within 48 hours and that they will attempt to reach a resolution within 10 days.