Calif. Schools Address Lawsuit Over Physical Activity Requirements
Thirty-seven California school districts are asking teachers to prove that students are receiving the mandated amount of time for physical education amid allegations that schools are shirking those requirements and reports of high obesity rates among children, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Under the state Education Code, schools must provide 200 minutes of physical education for every 10 days of class for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
Details of Lawsuit
In October, a lawsuit was filed in San Francisco County Superior Court on behalf of Marc Babin, whose adult children formerly attended California schools, and his organization Cal200, which advocates for elementary school physical education.
According to Donald Driscoll, Babin's attorney, the lawsuit specifically alleges that California school districts have been "routinely ignoring the law" and Los Angeles Unified School District is a "particular offender."
Meanwhile, a 2012 study found that the rates of obesity at L.A. Unified were higher than the national average.
School Districts Take Action
As a result of the lawsuit, L.A. Unified and other school districts have requested that teachers provide their lesson plans, which typically outline schedules for instruction and activities.
Driscoll said the lesson plans could be compared with the records school administrators previously submitted to the California Department of Education to verify the number of minutes students spent doing physical education activities.
Chad Fenwick, an adviser for elementary physical education at L.A. Unified, said the district has improved its physical education programs since 2004, when he began monitoring such activities. He said, "We're an extremely large district, the second largest in the nation," adding, "To have everything perfect all at once, it takes time ... We've been taking a systematic approach, and it's working" (Hayden, Los Angeles Times, 7/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.