Starting school at an earlier hour leaves mixed opinions

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By Kennedy Haswell

Messenger Staff Writer

Kennedy Haswell

Kennedy Haswell

Do you find yourself falling asleep in the middle of class or coming close to it?
Well it turns out you’re not alone. According to, 33% of teens report falling asleep in class, (myself counting as one) and this could be so easily avoided if we just started school a little bit later. Every night, all teenagers need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep. With that being said, a number of high school students get less than 7 hours of sleep. This may not seem like a very big deal, but when teenagers don’t get the amount of sleep their body needs, and then have to go perform in high stress situations at school, it never ends well.
Sophomore Claire Breckenridge has a very strong opinion on this topic as well. She get’s about 7 hours or less of sleep every night, staying up until midnight most nights doing homework.
“And then during the weekend you need to catch up on all that sleep, so I end up sleeping in very late, and then when I have to wake up early on Monday, my body get’s kind of shocked,” Breckenridge explained.
When adults think that teenagers sleeping in so late is the result of rebelliousness and moodiness in general, it is actually because most teens are going through the same thing that Breckenridge is. They are so sleep deprived that any chance they get at sleeping in they will usually take it to the extreme, which messes up their sleep schedule so badly and can also mess with your mental health.
Placer High School English teacher Erin Lee, knows that later start times can be good for teens, but she has one main concern about the change.
“The downside to this is that school would end later and that might interfere with after school sports and schedules and jobs,” Lee claimed.
I believe this is really the only valid point for not starting later, but even starting a half hour later would only push everything back by just a little bit and in the big picture, really isn’t that big of a deal. This is a transition that might take a little time to get used to, but will definitely be worth it in the long run.
Placer High School Principal, Peter Efstathiu, explained that he would consider changing Placer’s start time. In fact, several years ago he changed the start time from 7:40 a.m. to the current 7:55 a.m.
“I feel school could start a bit later to help improve the overall learning experience. I would be open to more discussion with students, parents and staff to look at later start time,” Efstathiu proclaimed.
Efstathiu added that when they decide to make changes on topics like this, they put a lot of thought into it.
“The decision is made based on evidence and data collected in regards to student health and academic achievement,” he added.
With that being said, there is a lot of evidence already proving how this would help students academically. In fact, According to the University of Minnesota, starting later has increased school attendance, standardized test scores, and performance in subjects such as math, english, science, and social studies has improved.
Starting school later helps with tardiness, symptoms of depression, and substance abuse, also reported by the University of Minnesota.
There is so much data out there proving that schools need to start later if they want successful students, and clearly this is a very important topic that I believe Placer High School and schools across the country should take into consideration and think about more seriously.

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