Should schools rethink their start times?

School start times are a big topic of conversation across the US. At Cedar Cliff,  7:37 is the time most high school students must be in class, at their desks, ready to begin the start of the school day. This needs to change.

Because of having to be at school so early, most students wake up an hour or more before they have to leave for school so they have time for their morning routine. However, there is a  large majority of kids who will sleep until the last minute and rush to get out of the door. This isn’t because they’re lazy or because they chose to be up late. This is because the start time of school is too early and teenagers require more sleep.

Sometimes lack of sleep is due to the extensive hours of homework students are given on a regular basis. They also have sports to do, and they need to have time to be a kid after school. Not getting the right amount of sleep at night, and not being fully alert in the morning, can lead to low attendance, low grades, and low classroom participation. 

Because of this, I believe it is completely necessary that schools push back their start time to 8:30.  Research shows that later start times in secondary schools is very beneficial. It found that students were only receiving 6 hours and 24 minutes of sleep before the time change. After schools pushed back the start times an hour,  students gained “a median of 36 minutes of sleep each night” says “UV news” . Although that may not sound like a lot, teens should be getting a full 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Most teens were not receiving that amount before this change.

And this isn't even all about just getting students the right amount of sleep on an everyday basis, there is a lot more to it. By changing school start times, it will help students' health. By getting their natural sleep cycles in place, teens will become healthier and this could lead to not as many sick days from school. 

“Verywell Families” says,  “Getting home later in the afternoon may reduce the amount of times teens are home alone and decrease the likelihood that teens will engage in unhealthy activities.” Meaning, teen pregnancies and the use of drugs, and alcohol may reduce in teens.

That being said, different articles on the Internet argue that if older siblings pick up younger siblings, where will the younger kids go after school. This could easily be helped by creating a place for kids to play after school until their older siblings can get them. Some people also argue that teens will stay up later if they know they can sleep in longer. Overall, there are always going to people who are difficult to work with and can’t be helped. But if teens are wise, they will use this time change to their advantage. 

Unionville, a highschool in PA, claims that their honor roll has never been longer than it is now since they have started school later. “It has made a tremendous difference for our kids.” the school says.  I feel it could do the same for every school who is willing to change.

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