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School Starts too Early

Photo courtesy of mmmlele.wordpress.com
Photo courtesy of mmmlele.wordpress.com

It’s no secret that many students at MC don’t get enough sleep. On average, eight percent of high school students get their recommended nine and a quarter hours of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Why? Well, we can start with our school’s start time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), biological sleep patterns shift during the teenage years, meaning it is natural to not be able to sleep before 11 pm. With the 7:30 start time of our school, students can get eight and a half hours of sleep assuming they sleep at 11pm and manage to wake up as school starts.
The AAP advocates for a start time of at least 8:30 a.m., which would allow for students to follow a more natural sleep pattern while getting their required amount of sleep.
At this point, people usually start complaining about how starting school later will disrupt bus schedules, athletic schedules, and work schedules, but these arguments pale in comparison to the increased risk of accidents, increased irritability and laziness, and lower test scores.
Students who are subjected to early start times, such as MC students, often drive in a drowsy state. This has been identified as the main cause of 100,000 traffic accidents each year. Drivers under 25 were involved in over half of these accidents.
Early starting times are also affecting student education and behavior. A study published in the journal of Learning, Media, and Technology found that sleep deprivation is the main cause in the attitude problems and laziness that plague teens.
Finally, these obscene start times are affecting our education. When the United States Air Force Academy stated a late start policy, the marks of students 18-19 year old increased significantly. When a high school in Edina, Minnesota had their start time changed from 7:25 to 8:30, SAT scores on the reading section for the top ten percent of students increased by several hundred points.
So why shouldn’t we have a later start time? School districts cite increased busing costs and sports as the reason to start schools early, but kids in the age group for elementary school naturally fall asleep anywhere from 7 to 9 p.m., and wake up naturally anywhere from 6 to 7 a.m. Many school sports already have morning practice or practice late at night, so practice times for many sports are already convoluted.
So, in the name of our safety, education, and sleep schedule, our first bell should ring later than 7:30 a.m.

About Brandon Noyes

This year is Bradon's first year on staff, where he is a writer. He is in Science Olympiad, Speech and Debate, and is on the swim team. Brandon enjoys skiing, sailing, and eating most foods.

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