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On June 23, 2008, diverse allies filed a Williams complaint against the Los Angeles Unified School District to remedy physical education deficiencies including physical education teacher vacancies, misassignments, and lack of subject matter competency. In explaining the complaint, we describe a pattern and practice of failing to provide quality physical education. (a) LAUSD does not enforce the state law requirement of providing 200 minutes of physical education every ten days. (b) Physical education classes are severely overcrowded. (c) LAUSD does not provide adequate facilities for physical education through, for example, joint use of schools, pools, and parks to make optimal use of scarce land and resources.

The Williams complaint is part of a four-pronged campaign, “For the Health of It!”, that includes (1) an organized public campaign with UTLA to support physical education, (2) an administrative complaint on behalf of parents, youth groups, and health advocates to require LAUSD to enforce physical education requirements, (3) a resolution, unanimously adopted by LAUSD, to enforce physical education laws, and (4) an implementation plan, developed by The City Project and LAUSD, to meet the requirements and resolve the complaint.

A Williams complaint is not litigation. It is a procedure adopted by statute in the wake of the Williams v. California law suit to enable anyone – parents, teachers, anyone – to file a complaint about teachers, textbooks, and facilities. The statute requires a remedy 30 days and a report within 45 days. The procedure is probably designed for the simple situation where one parent is complaining about one teacher at one school. We are pushing the envelope by using this procedure to have a broader impact district wide.

Learn more about the campaign to help students move more, eat well, stay healthy, and do their best in school in life.