Hamden Public Schools District Policies

5144.4 - Physical Exercise and Discipline of Students 

Physical Exercise and Discipline of Students 

The Board of Education (Board) recognizes that a positive approach toward exercise and physical activity is important to the health and well-being of students. All aspects of the school experience should encourage students to have healthy attitude toward exercise and promote the life-long enjoyment of physical activity. Therefore, when school employees impose disciplinary consequences for student misconduct during the regular day, the following restrictions shall apply: 

  1. Loss of Recess as Disciplinary Consequence

    Except as provided below, school employees may NOT prevent a student in elementary school from participating in recess or in other sustained opportunities for physical activity during classroom learning as a form of discipline. Recess and other physically active learning opportunities may include movement-oriented learning activities in the academic environment, physical activity breaks, and regularly scheduled school wide routines and events that engage students in physical activity that is the time devoted each day (at least 20 minutes) to physical exercise in the District's elementary schools.

    Loss of recess or other physically active learning opportunities as a form of discipline may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if approved in writing by the building administration prior to the imposition of the discipline. Such approval may be granted for safety reasons, as a last resort before in-school suspension, or in extraordinary situations when alternative strategies to address student misconduct have been ineffective.

    This restriction shall not apply to students who are receiving in-school suspension.
  2. Physical Activity as Punishment

    School employees may NOT require students enrolled in grades K-12, inclusive, to engage in physical activity as a form of discipline during the school day.
  3. Wellness Instruction

    School employees shall not prevent students from participating in physical exercise during wellness instruction as a form of discipline.

    This restriction does not apply to brief periods of respite/time-outs, referrals to the building administrator, or for safety reasons.

    At no time shall an entire class be prevented from participating in wellness instruction or physical exercise activity as a disciplinary consequence. 

The Superintendent of Schools is authorized to develop guidelines to implement this policy. 

Nothing in this policy shall prevent a school employee from acting in accordance with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) developed by the student's Planning and Placement Team (PPT). 

For the purpose of this policy, "school employee" means a teacher, substitute teacher, school administrator, school superintendent, guidance counselor, psychologist, social worker, nurse, physician, school paraprofessional, or coach employed by the Board or working in a public elementary, middle or high school; or any other individual who, in the performance of his or her duties, has regular contact with students who provides services to, or on the behalf of students enrolled in a public elementary, middle, or high school, pursuant to contact with the Board. 

(cf. 6142.10 - Health Education Program) 
(cf. 6142.101 - Wellness) 
(cf. 6142.61 - Physical Activity) 
(cf. 6142.6 - Physical Education) 

Legal Reference: 

Connecticut General Statutes 

10-2210 Lunch periods.

Recess (as amended P.A. 12-116, An Act Concerning Educational Reform, and P.A. 13-173, An Act Concerning Childhood Obesity and Physical Exercise in Schools.


First Reading:  September 8, 2015

Policy Adopted:  October 13, 2015