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Should school start later?

By Confucius Amistad, Staff Writer

It’s 11 p.m. and you, a high school student, are still in the middle of a piece of homework with perhaps a whole other one to do right after. You probably should’ve started all your work earlier. Maybe you did but it still took you this long. Maybe you were in desperate need of a nap because your previous night’s sleep wasn’t sufficient either. It’s worrying to be stuck in this sort of tiring loop where you only see a few hours of sleep between your working sessions at night and waking up in the morning. Grievances about excessive homework aside, I think there’s a very solid solution to all this that’s both proven to be a necessity for us teens: school should just start later.
We’ve all been told that on average, we need about eight hours of sleep a night to better function the next day. However, recommended sleeping schedules vary amongst different age groups; the younger we are, the more sleep we need. According to Nationwide Children’s, adolescents (age 13-17) actually need nine hours of sleep at minimum. Unfortunately, nearly 10 percent of American high schools start before 7:30 a.m. along with the 40 percent that start before 8 a.m. and the mere 15 percent after the recommended 8:30 a.m.. These early schedules do not help when two thirds of teens sleep below eight hours while two fifths sleep below five, according to Start School Later.
So what’s the deal? Why aren’t high schools starting at around 9 a.m.? Well, starting school early would mean ending it later as well. This would mean school would end at a later hour in the afternoon–reducing recreational afternoon time for outside school interests. There’s also this other option that seems simpler than starting school earlier; teens should just do their work and sleep earlier.
“I don’t think it really matters if school starts at 8 or 9 a.m..” said Leigh senior, Sanjay Rajasekaran. “I’d say for us students, if school starts later we’ll just think that it means we can sleep later.”
However, simply trying to sleep earlier still keep teens inconsistent with their body clock. Teens are generally programmed to be alert at night which makes sleeping before and around 11 p.m. difficult. And, if a better feeling and performance in school is not enough, consider that perhaps the later end to classes would prepare them better for future jobs and working hours with even less free time in the afternoon.
“My school starts classes at 7 a.m. and to be honest it’s really a struggle” said Sierra Vista High School senior, Nikola Velimirovic. “Sometimes I arrive at school at about 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. because of some things and it’s a bit laughable how much better and prepared I feel during those days and how much more confident I feel the night before when I do my homework”
Interestingly enough, Senator Anthony Portantino of the California State Senate has introduced a legislation (SB 328) that would require California middle and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.. However, after falling short on votes for passage, the bill has been shelved and will be revisited this upcoming January.