Senate Bill 291 – Entitles Pupils To Recess Unless It Is A Threat To The Pupil Or Their Peers, Or The Pupil Has A Field Trip Or Is Provided With Other Educational Programs

CATEGORY: Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education
DATE: Dec 06, 2023

Existing law encourages school districts to provide daily recess periods and provides that a teacher may restrict for disciplinary purposes the time a pupil is allowed for recess.  SB 291 eliminates the teacher’s authority to restrict a pupil’s recess for disciplinary purposes.  The bill provides that a teacher cannot restrict a pupil’s recess unless there is an immediate threat to the physical safety of the pupil or the physical safety of one or more of the pupil’s peers.  The bill provides that school staff must make all reasonable efforts to resolve such threats and minimize exclusion from recess as much as possible.

SB 291 requires commencing with the 2024-2025 school year that recess, as defined, provided by a public school operated by a school district, county office of education, or a charter school, be no less than 30 minutes on regular instructional days and at least 15 minutes on early release days.  The bill further provides that recess is not required on days where there is a field trip or other educational program.

The bill provides that recess shall be outdoors when the weather and air quality permit and allows for recess to be held indoors if outdoors is not possible or outdoor space is not sufficient.  Pupils with individualized education plans or 504 plans shall be provided recess in compliance with their plans.

(SB 291 adds Section 49056 and repeals Section 44807.5 of the Education Code.)

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