New Jersey public schools would be required to offer some students a 20-minute recess under a bill passed by the Legislature.
Recess allows younger students time to cultivate social skills and could help combat inactivity that leads to unhealthy lifestyles later in life, lawmakers said.
"Not only does recess provide kids with a chance to let off some energy so they can better concentrate on their academics, it also allows them to develop their social skills," said Assemblyman Erik Peterson, R-Clinton.
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The bill applies to students in kindergarten through fifth grade and calls for holding recess outside if feasible. The state currently does not mandate recess.
The measure passed the Assembly unanimously on Thursday. Differences between the Senate and Assembly bills have to be resolved before it goes to Gov. Chris Christie for consideration.
The Assembly bill was amended to say recess can be denied if a student violates the conduct code. The Senate bill provided a student could be denied recess only as a consequence of a harassment, intimidation or bullying investigation.