Moms with Teens

Cafe MichelleP
Should High School Start Later?
October 9, 2012 at 11:09 AM

5 Reasons School Should Start Later in the Day

Posted by Jacqueline Burt

tired teensWhoever thought starting high school at 7 a.m. (or thereabouts) was a good idea?! It's hard enough getting my daughter to middle school at 7:35. And it's not just a matter of parental inconvenience (though, don't get me wrong, I'm in no way, shape, or form looking forward to those crack-of-dawn wake-up calls). Study after study tells us that kids who start high school later are better off and that sleep deprivation causes real damage to teens -- physically, intellectually, and emotionally. And I'm not just talking about kids being cranky at the breakfast table or dozing off in class. This is serious stuff:

5 Reasons Why High School Should Start Later

1. According to a new study, not getting enough sleep can increase a teen's likelihood of developing diabetes by decreasing insulin resistance. (Also, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says most adolescents need at least nine hours of sleep every night -- and up to 87 percent of teens in America are getting a lot less.)

2. A disturbing 2010 study found that teenagers who go to bed after midnight are 24 percent more likely to suffer from depression than those who go to bed before 10:00 p.m. Yikes!

3. Students are more alert later in the morning. Research shows that during the 7 a.m. hours, teen melatonin levels are still sending sleep signals. How are they supposed to actually LEARN anything?

4. Overtired teens eat more fatty foods. In one study, kids who got less than eight hours of shut-eye on a weeknight consumed more of of their daily calories from fat than teens who slept eight hours or more.

5. Teens who don't get enough sleep are more likely to "drive drowsy," which can lead to serious or even fatal automobile accidents.

Compelling evidence, right? Wonder what it's gonna take for the power-that-be to make a change ...

Do you think high school should start later?


  • boys2men2soon
    October 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Quoting Cafe MichelleP:

    Our high school starts at 9am. It is perfect. Athletes have morning practices at 6:30, so after school practices don't run as late.

    I think that is a reasonable solution.

  • 3mom627
    by 3mom627
    October 9, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    My kids don't seem to mind it. It is really early. They have to be at the bus stop at like 6:50, but they do get home really early around 2:30 or so. It's really hard because of the bus situation. If the kids all walked it wouldn't be a major problem, but around western PA almost every kid rides a bus sooner or later.

  • tyfry7496
    October 9, 2012 at 10:27 PM

     Our high schools all start at 7:30 and end at 2:30. The middle schools are 8:45-4 and elementary vary from starting at 730-845.  It's partly because there are only so many busses to get the kids to school. There has never been a problem. The worst was middle school getting out at 4 and then having sports that start at 430-500 and not ending until 9 or 930. Then dinner, homework, etc.

  • EyEmTuRtLe
    October 10, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    Yes, high school should start later. Why? Whenwas the last time anyone saw an elementary kid asleep at 7 or 8 am?

    Here in our district schools start as follows:

    Elementary. S.: 9:35am - 3:38pm    buses: 9am & 4pm

    Middle.S.: 8:35am - 3:10pm   buses: 8am & 3:20pm

    High.S.: 7:35  (0 period starts at 6:15) - 2:10pm   buses: 6:55 & 2:35

    We're close enough my DS has to hoof it. So my DS is out the door at 6:40 and gets home at 2:40. So far my DH has driven him to school every morning since he literally goes right by the school.

  • suesues
    by suesues
    October 10, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    how silly go t bed early and get butt out of bed early this is the real world mine start at 8 out the door by 730 home by 230 so they can all get a little part time job we all did it growing up we turned out ok

  • BrennaLyons
    October 10, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    Sorry, but this entire article is misleading. It assumes getting up early means the teen doesn't get enough sleep. My daughter is awake at 5 am and in class at 7 am, and she's not sleep deprived at all. She chooses to go to bed at 8:30 at night so she gets enough sleep. The problem is teens staying up until midnight and then getting up at 5 am. It's not what time school starts. It's what time the child is going to bed before school. This is a lifelong lesson in personal responsibility. Jobs aren't going to start later, just because the person holding the job wants to stay up until 2 am the night before work.

    And for the record, when Melatonin starts flowing depends on when it gets dark, which means it starts flowing earlier in winter months than in summer, and then the body clock takes over and schedules an end to the production, based on that. It's not a clock-based phenomenon that they can say definitively that it will always be flowing at X time.

    You can sabotage Melatonin production by being on computer screens late at night. New studies have shown that being on a lit screen later than four hours after sunset causes a marked reduction in Melatonin production, and over a long period of time can cause complete cessation of Melatonin production. If your child has problems falling or staying asleep, you can certainly supplement Melatonin with pill form.

  • BrennaLyons
    October 10, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    FWIW, high schools start earlier than middle and grade schools around here for a very good reason. Many families depend on high school students to watch younger siblings until parents get home from work. AND we have a huge population of middle school and high school teens having babies. That means many have kids in pre-K or K-garten when they are themselves in high school. Getting out earlier means they are there to pick up their own kids from school.

    But, that's also assuming the kids go to the local high schools and not regional. The Vo-Tech starts classes at 7:45 and ends a little before 2. It covers eight towns, so kids can be on the bus for up to 40 minutes to get to and from school by the 7:20 bus arrival time and may not get back home until well after the younger students are released. The Ag-Tech has a similar timeline for classes, but it covers the entire county, and kids spend up to an hour or longer on the bus getting to and from school. Some kids get on the bus as early as 6 am and don't get off of it until 4 pm...for the EARLY bus home. The late bus doesn't arrive back at the fringe cities until 7 pm.

  • PurplePieguy
    October 10, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Our HS startst 7:30. My DD is usually in bed by 9:30, up by 5:30 and her bus comes at 6:40. She is home by 3:20.

    Our elementary school starts at 7:30 and middle schooll starts at 8:05.

    My 4 older kids are not home to get my little one off the bus. She gets home an hour earlier than they do.

  • boysmom5
    October 10, 2012 at 8:41 AM
    Our boys get up at 6 and on the bus at 6:50. We send them upstairs to bed around 9. They usually stay up for a little bit longer. If they choose to be up too late, they're the ones who are tired the next day and they go to sleep earlier the next night.
  • butzi
    by butzi
    October 10, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    One of my son's HS starts at 8 the other's starts at 9, it is much easier on everyone for the 9 start time I just wish they both started at the same time so they could ride together.

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