Should students in high school have recess?

Amber Barton, Staff Writer

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With suicide and dropout rates exponentially increasing in American high school students, professionals are scrambling to institute programs aimed at improving mental health and overall happiness of their pupils. However, they are overlooking one simple, beneficial solution with no cost: outdoor recess.

Students enjoy spending time outside. Credit: Amber Barton

At the thought of high schoolers participating in recess time, many people would scoff and say that the students are already too old or distracted for another four years of in-school time outside. What they don’t understand is that midday periods of time outdoors drastically improve the mental health, physical health and positive attitude of its participants.

“In today’s society, there is a larger risk of depression,” health teacher and outdoors enthusiast Mr. Bradach says, “and the indoors can make me even more feel trapped or confined.”

Mr. Bradach explains that he often finds himself making excuses to go outside and enjoy the weather, exercise, or do yard work.

“I think most people aren’t flexible enough for the weather; they wait for the ‘ideal temperature,’” Mr. Bradach says.

Even students admit that the outdoors is a pleasant place and should be incorporated into people’s daily lives.

“I walk home, which is a pretty nice experience, but other than that I’m usually not outside,” sophomore Maxwell Casbon says, “I like going outside; it’s very nice and relaxing.”

While spending the evening after school outside is an easy way to get in outdoor hours, the most effective time to go outside for a break is between intense classes or working hours, according to a study by Rochester University.

“The only time I get to go outside during school is going to and from my math class,” Casbon says. “The PE classes don’t even go outside that much, so it doesn’t really depend on your elective class either.”

Seniors at Roswell High School have the privilege to eat outside, but not all seniors agree with this policy.

“I think the time we have to go outside should be expanded,” senior Nellie Collier says, “and not just seniors need time outside – all students do!”

All students deal with the weight of stacked responsibilities but being outside allows students to reflect on their inner strengths and weaknesses, tasks and future actions without getting overwhelmed.

“I’d definitely be open to outdoor recess,” Collier says, “I think it would be good for mental health and a great break for all students.”