Should school start later?

“You are feeling sleepy.” Yes, you are, if you’re a typical student who has to start school so early.


The Mirror reporter

Twenty percent of all schools in the United States start school at 7:45 or earlier. Health should always be prioritized and be one of the most important parts of life as a teenager and getting enough sleep each night should be mandatory for a high school student. I believe that a later start to junior highs and high schools should be implemented in order to achieve better health and academic performance in students all across the United States.

“Starting school later would be amazing,” Franco Bonelli, a SPASH junior, said. “First of all, you get more sleep and also you’ll feel better coming to school.” The National Sleep Foundation claims that in order for a high school student to function best they need to get nine hours and 15 minutes each night. Because of hormonal changes occurring in students of this age, their bodies don’t allow them to go to bed early which leads to less sleep. Schools in Idaho City found that making a change to the school system to have a later start time found that absences went down by 15 percent. Students that are able to sleep in longer will become more motivated to get things done in their day and also feel that getting up later is natural for their body.

Most school districts, elementary, middle, and high schools have different start times in order for buses to make two trips for different age groups, and in most cases, the early buses are for the high schools. There has been constant talk about making high schools later and elementaries earlier, but conflict from parents of younger kids was hard to get past.

“For older kids, I think school starting later would be great!” Brad Schmidt, SPASH band teacher, said. “I think it’s flipped around and that younger kids should be up earlier and the older kids should be up later. Older kids are more awake later on.” It is proven that because of the onset of puberty, students’ bodies don’t begin to feel sleepy until around 10:45 p.m.

Some risks of keeping school at an early start time include a higher chance of being overweight, depression, more automobile accidents, lower grades and test scores, and lower quality of life. Waking up later provides more time for students in the morning to wake up and get ready for their day, and this includes breakfast. You always hear “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and in most cases this is true. Having the extra time for students to get ready in the morning allows them to have time to eat and gives their body a boost of energy to get things done for the day. “I wouldn’t be so tired, I’d be less crabby, and I’d have more time to eat a better breakfast,” Zach Stremer, a SPASH junior, said.

Many say that the disadvantages override the advantages to having a later start, but I disagree. A disadvantage that becomes the most difficult to work with would be after school sports/activities. Activities would be harder to fit into people’s available daytime schedule during the week because all of their available daytime would be spent at school.

Although this is true, I think many solutions can be made to solve this. For example, if schools were able to commit to having school from 8:30 to 3:30, then after school activities would still be just as available as they were before. The only problem would be having to figure out how many extra days of school they would need to add on because of the missed time that they have every single day. However, I believe it would be very easily accomplished.

Overall, I believe most of the time the districts don’t properly commit to the idea of starting school later. People are so used to the schedule we’ve had for so many years and know they’ll be able to make do with what we have, but the health of the students should be considered first before the comfort of the present.