Editorial Contest: Later School Start Time

Starting school later will improve student health, safety, and academic achievement.

Payton Beech, Student Correspondent

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“The CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 2017 showed that 75.4% of U.S. high school students get fewer than 8 hours of sleep on school nights, and 43% get 6 or fewer hours”. School is a majority of kids’ daily routine right? How does one feel after a short night of sleep? Probably not ready to sit at a desk all day and learn. Starting the school day an hour or two later would benefit school kids of all ages. Students would be able to focus in class better, on the road, and feel emotionally stronger throughout the day. Although, it is often argued that there are some difficulties pushing back the school day start time.

According to studies, teenager’s bodies require between nine, and ten hours of sleep per night to feel alert and rested. Many students complain of feeling tired and drowsy at school. That is because mature adolescents have a circadian rhythm which causes them to fall asleep later and wake up later. With the early morning school start, kids have trouble focusing in school because they were not able to fall asleep at a decent hour the night before, and still have to be at school for 7:30 am. Feeling tired makes it hard to learn and remember content causing grades to drop.

Not only does fatigue change grades and focus for students, but it puts teenager drivers at risk. Falling asleep behind the wheel is a possibility if one is tired. In the morning when students drive to school tired their reaction time may be slower than if they were well rested. Besides the fact driving is difficult when tired, it is also difficult to control emotions. Sleep deprivation may cause mood changes or the risk of developing a mental illness. Waking up for school earlier than the body feels is right has many consequences such as, less focus, lower grades, driving risks and emotional behavior.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, there are obstacles that come with delaying school start time. A couple difficulties are transportation, and after school activities. As for transportation most parents work and they go in early in the morning. If kids are not old enough to drive, it may be difficult to get to school. For after school activities, if school starts later, most likely it may end a little later, too. Therefore, there is less time for practice, games, matches or competitions. Along with time, day light may also be problematic.

So, delaying school start time will help kids focus, driving safety, and emotional changes. In order to go about this change, one may email the superintendent explaining their thoughts on imposing the change.

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Medina High School's student newspaper since 1941
Editorial Contest: Later School Start Time