Friday, April 13, 2007

New Laws - SB 2369 - Phys Ed for K-8 Students

The Mississippi Healthy Students Act, SB 2369, was passed this past session requiring Kindergarten through 8th grade students to get 150 minutes of exercise per week and 45 minutes of health per week. Additionally high school students are required to get a .5 credit in phys ed or physical activity. This also appears to create local school health councils with members appointed from parents, teachers, students, administrators and about anyone else you can think of.

For the actual logistics dealing with this new law it looks like in Section 2 paragraph 3 the legislature is supposed to appropriate money to hire a "physical activity coordinator" and the schools must adopt a Wellness Plan by the beginning of the 2006-07 school year (which is almost over) and beginning with the 2008-09 school year the "plan shall also promote increased physical activity, healthy eating habits and abstinence from the use of tobacco and illegal drugs through programs that incorporate healthy lifestyle choices ..." The entire act is effect on July 1, 2007.

The couple of questions I had when reading this is when do schools have to be compliant?, and why wait until 08-09 to put physical activity in the Wellness Plan if the Act is effective July 2007? This bill, SB 2369, looks so bare that you can't really tell what is going on. It makes a blanket statement of more minutes for Phys Ed and Health but no start date because, at least to me, it doesn't appear to be an actual part of a Wellness Plan that doesn't go into effect until 2008 and even if it did what looks like the Wellness Plan seems to be the same thing people have been wanting for years.

My assumptions are that the more Phys Ed starts this August (of 2007) and these magical plans don't have to incorporate Phys Ed until 2008 (which will actually be after they are already in effect).

If anyone can provide clarity on this for me, please do so. I think I agree with the premise but this appears to be a prime example of legislative confusion.

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