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Hannah Sullivan

Mrs. Litle

English 121

April 7 2017

Schools with a Later Start Time

The average High-School and Middle School start time is 7:00 a.m. Although kids still

get up every day and still attend school at such an early start time, statistics from the National

Sleep Foundation shows that 60% of children under the age of 18 complained about being tired

throughout their day of classes (School Start Time and Teens). Some school districts decided to

start their classes at 9:00 a.m. and found out that the kids were performing better in class than

those whom started at 7:00 a.m. This allows time for parents to transport their children easier and

save money by avoiding daycares and babysitters. Some believe that starting school at 7:00 a.m.

is a positive touch too their schedule, however, later start time for High Schools and Middles

schools will help students perform better and be fully prepared for class. Although some argue

starting school earlier leaves us more time for activity later in the night, most teenagers use that

time to sleep due to lack of sleep from the night before.

According to an article written by Kyla Wahlstrom, The University of Minnesota had a

program Center for applied research and Educational Improvements, the Edina school district

of Minnesota was reaching out to them to help improve their childrens behaviors and their

academic attendance (Wahlstrom). They decided to try moving their start time from 7:20 am to

8:30 a.m. and immediately noticed children being more engaged in 1st period classes, not acting
out in the halls and lunchrooms, and the students were feeling less depressed. The National Sleep

Foundation also said that 92% of parents said that their children were easier to live with and

they noticed a 66% drop rate in tardy children (School Start Time and Sleep). The University

of Minnesota discovered that this was better for the community and decided they would keep it

this way. The use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana dropped 8% to 14% when children were

gaining eight or more hours of sleep nightly, there are less risky behaviors in teens when getting

the amount of sleep needed to perform well in school (Wahlstrom). This study done by the

University also revealed that there are more car accidents linked with sleep deprivation in teens,

a teen that is gaining the proper amount of sleep doesnt have good reaction time, has slower eye

movement, and is not quick to make their decisions (Holohan). Ellin Holohan is a reporter for

Heath Day, an online news service that did a study on sleep deprived teenagers. He did the study

on two schools based out of Virginia, with two different start times. When combining the schools

car accident rates, the earlier the start time, the more car accidents occurred. The researched

conducted that teens and kids of youth ages are more likely to get into an accident when sleep

deprived. The study found that when teens increased their sleep, crash rates declined 16.5%

during a period when teen crash rates throughout the state increased by 7.8% (Holohan).

Not only does starting school later have a positive effect on students, there are also

positive effects on their parents. They have to make sure that they are getting transported from

place to place on time and not having to wait in the dark after extracurricular activities. In the

United States, the average work start time is 8:15 am. This is an issue because when schools

start at 7:20 am the schedules of parents and their kids dont match up, they have to drop their

kids off and go home to continue getting ready for work (Gaidos). When starting school at 8:30

am, it allows the parents to drop their kids off on time and get to work. Many children enjoy
being active and many parents encourage their children to join an extracurricular activity after

school. The average time that parents get off of work being 5:00 pm. , it gives them plenty of

time to pick their kids up from their extra activities, and prepare dinner for the night (Sleep for

Teenagers) . The cost for an afterschool baby-sitter for elementary aged kid is about $214, thats

only one kid and most American families have two kids. A later start time in school would really

allow a better flow of life every day and allow parents to save money by being able to pick up

their kids on their own and not having to have an extra day care bill a month.

Susan Gaidos is an author that has studied Neuroscience, physics, technology and biology

for the past three decades. She published an article The Teenage Body Clock which studied the

teenagers behavior when growing through puberty. She explains that something happens to their

biological clock which doesnt allow them to go to sleep as early as they are used to (Gaidos).

When a teens sleep cycle is out of sync, it could cause teens to have abnormal behavior. If a

teenager goes to bed at about 11:00 pm averagely, and wakes up an hour before school starts

(7:30 am), they will get 8 hours of sleep and a whole hour to prepare for school. This would

allow teens biological clock to wake up and be fully alert for their classes. By starting school

later our children will feel more involved, interested, and rested.

Although many schools start as early as 7:00 am, I believe that our lives would flow

better with a later start time of 8:30 am. The way teens behaviors react to sleep, the

transportation of children after school, and the studies of a teens biological clock would all be

affected positively if school starts after 8:30 am. Our community would be a lot safer when our

teenagers are driving fully alert and are learning to the best of their ability in their classes.

Studies prove that starting schools at 8:30am or later will have a positive effect in many ways.