Later School Start Time Being Considered

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 8.57.20 AMThe clock hits 12:46 and after a quick walk around my room to wake up, I settle in to continue working on this article. The irony of being up so late to write this article about teens needing sleep makes me laugh as I take my seat at my desk. I take the research into my own hands and log into Facebook to check how many fellow students are still awake.

There were a number of posts made around midnight, and four very recent posts show I am not alone at this very early hour. That isn’t including the students who are awake and not posting on Facebook, or are on Youtube, or Netflix, or playing video games late into the night.

Junior Sierra Tarbox said, “Usually for me, it can be anywhere from midnight to 2 in the morning before my head even hits the pillow.”

Staying up late has become a social norm across all forms of education. When thinking of going to college, high school students imagine late nights writing papers with energy drinks, making instant noodles, and falling asleep when you finally arrive to your class.

With so much work to do, and so many technological distractions slowing the process down, is there any way students could get more sleep?

Eight different school boards in southern Maine are now discussing the possibility to push forward their schools start time to better benefit students. This is finally happening after years of doctors telling school boards that students need more sleep, and even studies from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) are stating that the earliest school should start is 8:30.

When asked about the time change senior Angelica Cloutier said, “I think it’s going to be a really good thing. Students will get more sleep, which will have them be able to pay attention in class better and be more awake and alert. Then the students will be getting better grades and the school could be more successful.”

Mary A. Carskadon, a Doctor with a specialty in sleep research found that on average teens need nine or more hours of sleep to function properly. “Most teens fall short of this goal, many by a considerable amount.”

Lack of sleep can become more than just an inconvenience. Many studies have found that adolescent who are sleep deprived are at a higher risk for suicidal tendencies, car crashes, depression, obesity and more. The effects of sleep loss are heavily pronounced in the school day, from students falling asleep in class to missing school entirely because they turned off their alarm and fell back asleep.

Hearing the announcement that the school start time could be moved forward to 8:30 AM rings in many students ears. Asking around I have heard horror stories from seniors of being at school until 10 PM for sport practices, and their worry that shifting the day later may mean even later sports practices for the next year’s students.

Students who participate in the drama department also sound terrified for the next  years student body, worrying about the amount of time they will be losing to practice their parts in the plays, and what toll it will take on the quality of the productions.

Even with all the concern, most students are optimistic about the schedule change. Hannah Pushaw, a junior said, “I believe that it will improve school life, but I don’t think it will be a drastic change. I don’t believe that complaints about Monday mornings will stop, and first block is always going to be hard to endure.”

At the end of March the announcement was made that the time change will be made, but as no specific details have been released there is no information on how it will affect after school activities.

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