It’s about time to change school start times

Junior+Mya+Lynch+and+Senior+Ian+Mackimm+enter+South+in+the+morning+after+the+morning+bell.+%E2%80%9COnce+you+look+at+highschool+and+you+look+at+adolescence%2C+I+think+there%E2%80%99s+plenty+of+data+that+says+that+starting+later+is+best+for+the+brain%2C%22+said+Principal+Brett+Stringer.

Nicholas Auckenthaler

Junior Mya Lynch and Senior Ian Mackimm enter South in the morning after the morning bell. “Once you look at highschool and you look at adolescence, I think there’s plenty of data that says that starting later is best for the brain," said Principal Brett Stringer.

Nick Auckenthaler, Staff Writer

New laws have been passed in California pushing back start times to no later than 8:30. Schools in Australia and New Zealand have even pushed it back to 10 am, according to The New York Times. With this new change going on, students are wondering if maybe it’s time for a similar change to come to South High. 

 

A lot of kids get less sleep because they have after school activities like sports or clubs. Some of these activities go on for hours after school. By the time they get to start on their homework, it’s already dark out. “As a teen I have a lot going on in my life with after school activities,” said junior Mya Lynch.

 

“If you’re asking me to go to bed earlier than you’re asking me to maybe blow off my homework or not turn something in on time,” said Lynch. Students say it can be impossible to stay on top of all their school work while being a part of one or more activity. 

 

It’s possible that if school started later it could make the students do better because they’re more awake. “I do think more students would come on time, or be more willing to participate or make it through the day without sleeping or going home because of exhaustion,” said Lynch. Some disagree, and claim that teens will just sleep later. “If you don’t want to come to school you’re gonna sleep in. Those kids are going to sleep in no matter what,” said junior Andrew Anderson.

 

When teenagers aren’t fully awake, they’re more irritable and crabby. If they come to school already fully awake, haven slept longer, it would be a better experience for everybody.  “I get not enough sleep, so I’m very tired throughout the day. A lot of the time I’m very angry because I don’t sleep much,” said junior Angel Arevalo.

 

On top of school work outside of school, just getting here and back takes up a large chunk of the day for some students. Some of them need to wake up at an unhealthy time just to make it to first hour. “I feel like I’m in a rush every morning and I don’t know why,” said junior Meir Hetletvedt.

 

Some students disagree, saying getting up early is an inevitability of life, and school is helping us prepare for that. “A big part of school is getting us ready for the “real world,” and part of that is getting up early,” said Anderson.

 

The common rebuttal to the argument that we should push back school’s start time, is that kids should simply go to bed early. Teens have too much going on in their lives to consider this a reasonable suggestion. Teens should have the right to devote some of their time outside of school to having fun and being teens. “I think it is a little unreasonable to say that because you don’t know what’s happening in people’s lives or the cause of their sleep schedule,” said Arevalo.

 

This is far simpler a matter for some students, who claim going to bed early is perfectly reasonable. “If you got your priorities straight you can go to bed early,” said Anderson. 

 

Students have deemed ten o’clock to be a reasonable start time.“I feel like 10 would be nice. Then we would have an extra two hours,” says Arevalo. 

 

Even Stringer, who has worked in districts with later start times in the past, says that the idea is worth looking into. “Once you look at highschool and you look at adolescence, I think there’s plenty of data that says that starting later is best for the brain.” 

 

So if both students, and principal are on the same page, you know it might be time to change South’s start time.