Editorial: Push School Starting Times Back

Matt Keeler, Reporter

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Students wake up early in the morning to get ready for the long school day ahead. They are tired and groggy, and they know they won’t be able to function during the day. They wish they could just turn off their alarm and go back to sleep.

School starting times should be pushed back to at least 8:30 AM.

According to StartSchoolsLater.net, more than 60% of schools start before 8:00 AM. This means that students need to wake up early enough to get ready for school, maybe eat breakfast, and possibly catch a bus. It’s recommended that teenagers get around 8-9 hours of sleep each night, meaning that the student needs to make sure they’re in bed at a certain time to meet this goal. This isn’t always possible, with after school activities, school work, and other commitments pushing back the time till you can get to sleep. Regardless of what time you’re able to go to bed, you still need to be up early the next morning for school.

According to The Telegraph, teens are naturally predisposed to go to bed around midnight, and they don’t feel fully awake and engaged until 9-10 AM. So when schools start at 7:30, the students brains are fully functioning properly until third period at the earliest. After the Minneapolis Public School District pushed the starting time back in seven high schools from 7:15 AM to 8:40 AM, their performance improved, according to The National Sleep Foundation. Giving the brain that extra time to wake up and be alert and attentive can really make a difference, and pushing back the starting time of schools would provide that time the students need.

Getting the extra sleep each night can also improve students health. According to The National Sleep Foundation, pushing back school times can lower likelihood of experiencing depressed moods, and reduce risk of drowsy driving, metabolic and nutritional deficits associated with insufficient sleep. So not only would in-school performance improve, but students will also feel healthier and happier.

To make a change to this issue, contact your local school board. Present them with statistics and try to get them to push back the school starting time to help benefit the students wellbeing. Another step you could take would be to contact your local congressman, like Senators Robert Casey and Pat Toomey, to help make the change that could make a difference.