School should start later in the day

Grace Swift, Instagram Co-Captain

Sleep is a key factor for a student’s school performance and mental health, which is why  many people debate whether or not schools should start later. Right now at Roswell High School, classes start at 8:20 a.m. and if you were to ask many of the students and teachers they would agree that school is very early.

However, does the time that school starts actually affect the students and teachers in such a negative way that they should push back the start time? School should push back start time because the amount of sleep a student gets has been linked to their performance and likelihood of making correct health choices, however, there are negatives like messing with other schedules.

Pushing back the starting time for schools would allow students to get the amount of sleep that is necessary for them to succeed in school. “Teens who don’t sleep well may find it harder to absorb new material the next day,” states Science News for Students. The article goes on to say that not getting enough sleep may also make it harder for students to remember what they learned that day in class. In order to help ensure that students get the amount of sleep that they need to receive and process what they learned in class, school should start later.

“I think if we got a later start I would be more awake during the first periods of the day and I would be able to focus and concentrate more in class,” says sophomore Adleigh Wheeler, when asked if she thinks school should start later.

Also, with the extra sleep helping students focus in class, studies have shown that in schools that switch to a later start time, the attendance of the school grew. “During the academic year, the school recorded an average of 13.6 absences and 4.3 tardies for the first period. Before the schedule change, those yearly numbers were 15.5 and 6.2,” says Science News for Students. With an increase in attendance this means more students are in the classroom being taught by teachers and getting the help they need to improve their test scores and grades.

Another benefit from starting school later is that students are less likely to make unhealthy life choices. “Teens may be less likely to depend on caffeine to stay awake during the day,” states Very Well Family. With students getting enough sleep by sleeping in more than usual, it allows them to rely more on rest and natural energy rather than on coffee, soda, etc. to give them the energy that they need to get through the day without falling asleep. Very Well Family continues that not only does starting school late decrease the chance of students making unhealthy decisions like drinking beverages with caffeine, but also limits their time coming home late from school to make bad decisions including drinking, vaping, smoking, etc.  because “getting home later in the afternoon may reduce the amount of time some teens are home alone and could decrease the likelihood teens will engage in unhealthy activities.” Even if students arrive home at the usual time, more sleep will still help them not feel the need to do things like drinking and vaping. “They concluded that poor sleep is linked to increased reliance on caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol” (Very Well Family). Overall, giving students the chance to get more sleep would be very beneficial for the students’ health.

However, with change comes setbacks. Many school districts have decided not to change the starting school schedule due to the fact that changing times will have a domino effect on everything that goes on after-school. Students who have high school sports after school will get home later because their practice and games would be pushed back later.

Students don’t enough sleep, making it harder for students to focus in school and get good grades. Credit: JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Also, this would mean that all new bus schedules would have to be created and then the schools may have to find new bus drivers because the ones they employ currently may not be able to drive at a later time. Also with a later start, elementary school students might have longer wait times for their high school-age siblings than they would if school started at the normal time. “Delaying high school start times could pose problems with bus schedules, after-school activities, and sporting events for the entire district,” explains Very Well Family. This just proves that while the time change will have some positives there are also negatives that would come along with it.

In conclusion, I feel as though the benefits outweigh the negatives. Even if school was to start 30 minutes later than it starts now, it could help students a lot. By starting school later it could improve grades and test scores. It also could help the actual health of a teenager and what decisions they make outside of school and with their free time. While the negatives are ones that may be difficult to fix, it is nothing too strenuous or impossible.