Should School Days Start Later?


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Close up of hand of girl turns off the alarm clock waking up in the morning.

“Beep….beep….beep”- one of the most dreaded sounds for most teens.  We stay up late, either to finish homework, study for a test, or catch up on our social media.  Let’s not forget watching “one more” show of our favorite binge.  

Due to years of research and countless studies done, it’s widely known that teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep. Based on my personal research, students at Carolina Forest High School wake up at reasonable times, with virtually everyone waking up at 6:00-7:00 a.m. However, the average student goes to sleep after 11:00 p.m, when the ideal time is 9:30-10:30 p.m. This causes an almost dangerous lack of sleep and possibly affects the students’ performance in school.

Ann Twigg, our journalism and creative writing teacher, cannot believe how late some of her students stay up.

Twigg comments, “When I’m grading in Google Classroom, there is documentation of when my students turn in assignments.  It is quite common to see 2:50 a.m. for submission.”

A study done by researchers at the University of Washington and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies found that teenagers at two high schools received more sleep on school days after Seattle Public Schools pushed back the school day start time from 7:50 a.m to 8:45 a.m. And the students at these schools who took the classes taking place after the later start time showed final grades 4.5% better compared to students who attended class normally. Inevitably, these findings beg the question, should the school day start later?

Ask pretty much any student, and they’ll agree that they want the start of the school day to be pushed back. There are plenty of benefits that would come with this: better and longer sleep, improved attendance, and better academic performance. 

Sophomore, Olivia Gallagher, states, “I do think it would give students more time to wake up and actually be awake for school.”

With every benefit to something, there’s a con, and school days starting later is no exception. Yes, the day beginning later would allow students to get a better amount of sleep and get the chance to become lucid before school starts, but it would also throw off everyone’s schedule. While the day would start later for students, parents would be running on a normal time. Many students rely on other people to get them to school, but it would be extremely difficult to do so when school starts much later than the work day.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most jobs start at 8:00 a.m, and some can start hours earlier. If school days were to start later, this would cause a major disruption for workers that students rely on to attend school. 

In Horry County, our elementary, middle, and high schools share busses.  This issue would have to be taken into consideration if schedules were to change, which would also be a major headache.

So, the most students can do about not getting enough sleep is try to find a way to go to bed earlier. Starting later would have amazing benefits, but it would take lots of change to make that possible.

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