Speak MY Piece: School Start Times

Walter Miller Elementary School students walking to school. Photo by Rick Rickman.

Are you sleep-deprived? It’s possible with our busy lives, but if you’re a teenager you surely are.

And so, parents and educators are re-considering that ridiculous early starting time at most school districts in our region. Students, teens, specifically, are entering school in the 7 a.m. hour. Many are tired and some doze off in class, they say. Rising at 5 or 5:30 a.m. to make the bus is too early and helps create the problem.

More importantly, studies have shown learning is affected. Doesn’t everyone do their best work with a well-rested mind and body?

Go to bed early! It is unrealistic for today’s teens who have extra-curricular activities, jobs, homework, social life and phones. It makes no sense to say “it’s their problem,” instead we should figure out why school begins well before 8 a.m. Why?

Transportation, teachers and after-school activities are also impacted by a change and it will take time to figure it out, but I say give the students a break and an edge on learning – ring the morning bell at 8:30 a.m.

They’ll be smarter!