Should School Start Later?

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According to Sleep Education, as we age, we get less and less sleep, but the homework and the extracurriculars continue to accumulate.  The Academy of Sleep Medicine states that delaying school start times, whether they be thirty minutes or an hour, brings a significant change in grades, a drop in teen car accidents, and allows hard-working students to no longer be sleep deprived. These statistics raise the question: why do classes not commence later? 

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows that during puberty, teenagers become tired later in the night, and because of that, need to sleep for a longer amount of time in the morning. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine admonishes that teenagers ages 13 to 18 need to have 8-10 hours of sleep every night. If adolescents are unable to get that many hours of sleep, it could result in weight gain, poor performance in school, suffering from depression (or symptoms of depression), and participating in harmful and unhealthy activities, such as drinking, use of tobacco, smoking and the use of other drugs.

 With North starting at 8:20 am, and the majority of students going to bed later than 10:00 due to after-school activities and/or homework, it leaves little to no sleep and makes for a day of drowsiness with students not being able to focus, and it shows through their work.

Delaney Steele, a freshman at North, is one of the many students that are busy after school.

“I get home from school, grab a snack and then go to the barn,” Steele said. “I’m at the barn until 7:30 every night. I get home, shower, and pick out my outfit. From there, I usually start my homework at 9:00 and finish at 11 or 12 and go to bed around 1:00 on most nights. I sleep until 7:00, that way I am able to get the most sleep I possibly can. With school starting later, I would be able to get more sleep and I would be more motivated and willing to work and get things done”

In 2016, the Seattle district moved its start time from 7:50 to 8:45. Although it meant rescheduling bus routes and extracurricular activities, teenagers got extra sleep, there was a reduction in tardies and absences, and most importantly, an improvement in grades. Seattle is just one of the many places that have delayed school start times. 

If Edmond Public Schools were to follow what other districts are doing, there is a high possibility of seeing improvement not only in students’ grades, but their behavior, alertness, memory, and a better attention span. 

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