EPISD parent advocating for longer lunch times

File photo (Courtesy MGN)

An El Paso Independent School District parent wants the district to add more lunch and recess time to the school day.

Elizabeth Davidson asked the district’s board of trustees to extend lunch and recess time. She feels the 35 minutes her son Christopher gets at Tom Lea Elementary School is not enough.

“Well, the kids aren’t given enough recess during the school day. They have a lot of instructional time and they don’t have enough breaks in between,” Davidson said.

Davidson has done her homework and said data shows that kids do better in school when they have more recess time.

“When they run around, they’re able to sit still in class and listen to the teachers. Studies have shown that bullying goes down and attention span goes up. Let’s just face it -- they’re kids. They have all that energy and they need to expend it,” Davidson said.

A study conducted by Texas Christian University concluded that academic performance actually improved with more breaks in elementary schools. Davidson presented this research to the board and is hoping the district will do some research of its own to try to come up with reasonable lunch and recess times that work for the students and the district.

EPISD responded by saying that the district must follow state mandates that govern instructional time, which as of 2015 is measured by the minute and not by the day.

The district is obligated to provide a certain amount of minutes a year of instruction.

“There are mandated minutes to teach the kids and when those minutes are added up, there’s not enough time in the day to let those kids run around,” Davidson said.

Texas schools are supposed to have 75,600 minutes a year of school. That is equivalent to seven hours a day.

The law that mandates those times states that lunch and recess time counts toward those minutes in the day.

CBS4 asked the district about the possibility of adding time to the students’ lunchtime and are waiting on a response.

“I think we can work together to figure out a different schedule and they can have that morning recess and have an afternoon break,” Davidson said.

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