PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A northern California man took aim at 37 California school districts, claiming they're not making the grade when it comes to teaching physical education in elementary schools. Marc Babin, along with Cal200, a non-profit organization he heads, filed a class-action lawsuit against school districts across California.
The suit was filed in San Francisco County, but reaches two school districts in the Coachella Valley. Palm Springs Unified, as well as Desert Sands Unified are involved, and they don't know why. "Yeah this is the first time we've ever received some type of complaint about the number of minutes students have," said PSUSD Director of Elementary Education Tony Knapp.
The California Board of Education requires a minimum of 200 PE minutes every 10 days for elementary grades 1-6. That breaks down to 20 minutes per day, and that's in addition to recess as well as before and after school programs. Knapp said teachers meet the guidelines, but admittedly are stretched thin. Before leaving for summer, teachers were asked to keep their lesson plans from the past school year. Knapp added, "we asked them to maintain or hold onto any lesson plans they had that showed their 200 minutes that verified that, including what they did during that time."
Alex Lopez is a parent of three, and has two kids still at Gerald Ford Elementary, a part of Desert Sands Unified School District. He understands the PE teachings may be less strenuous, but couldn't understand why a lawsuit was brought on. "That would be, in my opinion, out of the question, and to be honest with you, quite ridiculous," said Lopez. "You know, PE is necessary in school, but to the point of attacking or accusing a district of not getting enough out of it? I think they're safely meeting the minimum. Schools out here don't have a gymnasium, so what can you do outside with children in 110 degree weather at least till November? There's very little you can do."