News & Events

Using litigation to increase PE policy compliance in California: Impact and unintended consequences

June 27, 2017

Litigation can be a powerful tool for advocates – even just the threat of a lawsuit may induce action – but at what cost? Drs. Hannah Thompson and Kristine Madsen set out to discover the potential unforeseen outcomes associated with using litigation as an enforcement strategy.

During this webinar, Drs. Thompson and Madsen shared insights learned from their qualitative study that assessed district and school officials’ perceptions of a recent lawsuit against 37 non-Physical Education (PE) compliant school districts in California. Primary findings indicate that accountability for physical education matters, with PE minutes increasing in schools that were parties to the lawsuit, primarily due to lawsuit settlement requirements that mandated PE minute tracking and reporting. Karen Johnson of SHAPE America also shared an advocacy perspective regarding how the findings from this study could impact PE standards and compliance nationally.

Based on learnings from this study, presenters shared general considerations regarding when and how litigation may be an effective tool, as well as more specific recommendations for increasing PE participation for children in public school settings, and answered questions from participants.

Hannah Thompson, PhD, MPH; E4A Grantee, University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health
Kristine Madsen, MD, MPH; E4A Grantee, University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health
Karen A. Johnson, Shape America
Erin Hagan, PhD, MBA; E4A Deputy Director; Moderator