A California school has become the latest school district to try and curb students’ ability to become disruptive during recess by forcing them to attend class while in detention.
A new policy in Riverside Unified School District’s (RUSD) South Bay district requires students to attend a designated time during recess if they want to sit at their desks and remain on a school computer.
It is one of several California districts that have been struggling to curb disruptive behavior among students, which has prompted some parents to take to social media to voice their displeasure.
But a new policy by Riverside Unified Superintendent Steve M. O’Donnell says students have no right to be in school during recess.
O’Donnell, who is seeking a fifth term as the district’s superintendent, told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Thursday that the policy “is designed to keep students safe and to help them get out of their classrooms and onto the school campus.”
The policy, adopted this year, allows students to continue attending class if they don’t want to go to the cafeteria or sit in the library during recess or lunch break, but they must wear a seat belt and stay at home for the entire recess period.RUSD said the policy is in place because of “the need to maintain the quality of education for all of our students.”
“As we’ve said many times before, this is a community school district,” O’Brien said.
“We’re going to work with the school board to make sure we continue to do everything we can to ensure that every child in the district has the opportunity to learn.”
The new policy has prompted a backlash from parents who say they are worried about disrupting the children’s education.
Parents and students alike have accused the district of punishing students for their political beliefs and using the policy to force them to participate in an educational activity that could disrupt school.
“The principal says the school will work with parents to come up with a solution,” said Mary M. Martinez, a parent who lives in the Riverside suburb of South Bay.
“But it’s really a very bad idea.
It’s not about discipline, it’s not a measure to prevent students from disrupting the classroom, it doesn’t make sense.”
Rochester’s Riverside Unified District (RSD) was one of the first school districts in California to try to curtail students’ disruptive behavior by requiring them to sit during recess and at their desk during lunch breaks.
The district has also been experimenting with using student-participation calendars to help students learn and stay on task during recess time.
“I think it is a violation of the Constitution and a violation to the public’s right to know the truth about how they are being disciplined,” said Jodi Williams, a Rochester parent who is a professor of public policy at SUNY Purchase.
“It seems that there is a desire by the school to try this policy to make it look like the students are not being punished for not disrupting the school.”RSD is the second school district in the country to take a similar approach.
In May, a North Carolina school district ordered students to sit in their desks during recess in order to maintain a healthy learning environment.