Should Schools Start Later?


Brendan Chase

Students leaving the High School at the end of the day.

Kaylee Hill, Managing-Editor

Bing! The alarm clock sounds in less than six hours to start yet another early school morning. For most high school students, a typical school’s start time can begin around seven to eight in the morning, a lot earlier than what the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends.

For adolescents, the early start time seems unnecessary given the scientifically proven evidence that teens naturally fall asleep and wake up later. This means that, for the majority of students, sleep is a biological need. A lack of sleep creates all sort of psycho-social problems later in life, including higher rates of depression and anxiety. So, why don’t schools start later?

Reasons behind starting school at such an early time in comparison to teens’ natural tendencies falls into place with after school activities, homework, and biggest of all-cost saving. Beginning school later would disrupt such activities, pushing them later into the evening, guaranteeing students to go to bed even later than they already do.

The same calls for homework. There needs to be enough time in the day to get the assignments done; decreasing such allotted time seem counter-intuitive. But for busses, the whole situation becomes even worse. Many school systems share busses for a cost-saving effect, meaning some students rise as early as six in the morning to catch their bus to school.

The benefits of starting school later, however, would increase the number of hours of sleep teens could get. This would fit their biological circadian rhythm, and studies show that increased sleep improves alertness, memory, attention, and mood overall. Focusing in class is a real issue when students hardly have enough energy to stay awake and let alone get through an entire six and a half hour school day with high expectations to do well.

However, school is indicative of the working world. The hours of the day do not decrease just because one is tired and neither does it for the teachers, who wake up sometimes even earlier than students. Senior Aidan Pierce furthered that “School, whether you like it or not, prepares you for the working world, where you gotta maintain focus for hours on end, despite tiredness.”

The later school starts, the later school ends. As Senior Sydney Boer added “I think school should start half an hour later because if it starts too late we will get home too late to do sports and complete homework.”

Though many students would love school to start later, it seems apparent that both sides to the argument have their pros and cons, especially considering something so vital to students’ education.