Should School Have a Later Starting Time?

by Chloe Sampere

The debate of whether school should start later or not has been a pressing issue for many years at BHHS. With many students in favor of a later start time, this issue has gained some traction. There are both positives, such as more sleep, and negatives, such as challenges with scheduling.

All students understand the struggle of waking up in the morning before the sun has even risen and hitting the snooze button several times. As most students are getting very little sleep and staying up past midnight, a later start time would greatly benefit them. Research shows that with less sleep students suffer from drowsiness, which can not only decrease academic performance, but also increase the rate of car accidents – especially dangerous for those driving to school. With such extreme and devastating impacts to an early start for school, such as car accidents, drug/alcohol abuse, and an increased risk of becoming sick, it is obvious that a change must be made.

Teenagers typically have different biological clocks and different sleep rhythms than adults. Their brains naturally have a hard time falling asleep before 11 pm, and a difficult time waking and functioning to their full potential before 8 am.

I spoke with Sophomore Kristin Eickelbeck who felt that “It would help [her to] get a lot more sleep because [she] would wake up later.” Sophomore Elaina Piecyk, however, disagreed stating, “We would just have to stay later at school and the earlier you wake up, the more time you have in your day.”  Both, however, agreed that the best option would be a later start with the same end time, which is very unlikely to occur.

On the other hand, various schools near Byram Hills have begun to rectify their starting times to accommodate their students. For instance, Nanuet High School in Rockland County has implemented a later start time beginning at 8:30am and ending at 3:10pm. South Orange High School and Dobbs Ferry High School have also made their starting times later. These changes have caused there to be an enormous decrease in the tardiness of their students (and not to mention happier faces, as well)! Additionally, teachers report that the students are more alert, less stressed, and are performing better in class.

If new starting times were to be implemented, however, it would not be all smooth sailing. People believe that the new starting times could be challenging in providing ample time for extracurriculars and scheduling times for after school activities. Bus scheduling could also be an issue that would cost the school.

I personally believe that starting school later would benefit me greatly because I get less than six hours of sleep each night. If I could just have an hour more each night, I would be able to pay greater attention in school and, perhaps, do better.

Overall, the decision for school to start later would benefit students greatly but there are drawbacks that must be considered.