Should School Start Times Be Changed?


Karen Portillo

Students should get a minimum of around nine to nine and a half hours of sleep per day.

Karen Portillo, Staff Writer

After a long night of trying to get homework done, waking up and getting ready for school can be a hassle for many students. Most high schools start school at 7:25 a.m., while middle schools tend to start around 8:20 a.m. Recently, Governor Gavin Newsom from California has pushed back the start times of most high schools and middle schools. The law stated that high schools will not start earlier than 8:30 a.m. and middle schools will not start earlier than 8:00 a.m.

The law was put in place in hopes of improving student attendance and performance. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital states that students should be getting a minimum of around nine to nine and a half hours of sleep in order to prevent sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation tends to affect a student’s mood, behavior, academic performance, and driving. In a study conducted in New England, 3000 high school students were examined showing that those who got B’s or better had 17-33 minutes more of sleep and went to sleep 10-50 minutes earlier than those with lower grades.

Critics of the law believed rather than help students, the bill will do the opposite for their working parents. They insisted it will cause disruptions for drop-off and pick-up times. The principle is set to go into effect by July 1, 2022, or whenever the school’s collective bargaining agreement with its employees expires, but it exempts rural school districts.

Forest Hill Community High School is just one of the schools in the Palm Beach county district who starts school at 8:50 a.m. In contrast to Santaluces, this time change does not seem to be an upcoming alteration. This is because of the bus system. Schools tend to share the bus system with elementary schools that start and end at earlier times. This forces each school to have a set schedule for pick-up and drop-off. If Santaluces were to alter their start times, schools would have a harder time sharing the buses causing an increase in cost for the district to maintain.

Senior Kevin Baldeosingh remarked, “Starting school would be able to benefit a lot of students because they have the time to properly sleep. Sleep is just as important as studying or anything academic, so by pushing the time later, we’d be able to improve our academic skills overall just based on the time set. Finland starts school at around ten o’clock and is one of the leading countries for education.” Junior Lorena Maldonado agreed, “I believe schools should start at a later time because it will allow students to get an extra few hours of sleep, but with starting time later comes consequences. School will end later and students will stay at school longer because of clubs.”

With or without later school start times, students should always try to get as much as sleep as they can. Remember to avoid caffeine at night, don’t study or do homework while on your bed, don’t watch T.V. before bed, and maintain a regular sleep schedule.