Published: May 19, 2014 6:15 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Lori Fayhee remembers recess as a child in school, something she says her 11-year-old son has never had during his time in the Lee County School District.

"His day is very difficult," Fayhee told WINK News. "The time just to decompress and absorb some of their learning is a big issue."

Fayhee is one of several Lee County parents spearheading an effort to reinstate a mandatory 20-minute recess for Kindergarten thru 8th Grades.

They have the support of former assistant principal Kathleen Jasper.  She left her job and has since founded the educational discussion website,

"It doesn't take a Ph.D. in child development to know that these kids need to be out on the playground," Jasper told WINK News.

An online petition is gaining support as it circulates on social media.  Started last week, officials say they've received several hundred signatures - both online and in person. 

"It's really quite simple," Jasper said. "The district just needs to pull back on some of its testing.  Take some of the pressure off teachers and students, then they can get some of these kids back on the playground."

WINK News reached out to the district for comment, but did not receive a response on Monday.

School board members Don Armstrong and Mary Fischer both indicated initial support for the measure in phone calls with WINK News.  Each said they were interested in hearing more at Tuesday night's board meeting.  Jasper and Fayhee said they hope to have several hundred parents in attendance.

The CDC encourages physical education in school-aged children and teenagers, but parents like Fayhee say traditional P.E. classes - while important - aren't the same as an unstructured opportunity for kids to be kids.  She believes there are valuable social skills that are best learned on the playground among peers.

"One of my biggest concerns is that recess will give them knowledge of how to interact," she said.  "And teach them how to be a good citizen."