Lately, however, another anti-recess argument has hit the scene. It stems from our nationwide consciousness and fear of bullying. Essentially the idea (albeit mistaken) is that without recess, bullies will have less opportunity to victimize their peers. Bullying of course isn’t eliminated when recess is banned — instead it just goes underground, metastasizing in hallways, bathrooms, buses and on the Internet.
The real solution to bullying on the playground is to train recess supervisors to know the difference between playing and aggression, and to recognize and respond appropriately to escalating situations. This, at its most basic level, means learning how to feel comfortable with children arguing about the rules of a game or about whether the ball was in or out. When this happens, recess becomes a wonderful working laboratory for children to develop their social competence, leadership abilities and conflict resolution skills.