Should High School Start Later?

Melanie Saeteurn, Staff Writer

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To this day, many students face sleep deprivation because of school starting so early. The Renton School District high schools start at 7:20 to 2:03 on most days which I, and many others, find it hard to wake up when the sun isn’t even up. Then, we have a late start on Fridays which everyone looks forward to, and we start class at 8:50 which is a 1.5-hour later start time. Adolescents are recommended to get 9 hours of sleep at night but instead, we end up getting an average of 7 or less hours. By not getting the hours of sleep we need, it can affect our ability to pay attention and learn. Also, sometimes we don’t have the option to go to sleep whenever we want because as we get older we have more responsibilities like a job, school work, sports or extra activities that can help us our the future.

The district should look at high schools as a priority with regards to this issue, or at least consider some of the things we say because we do say some logical things that actually make a point. Instead, they just put us off to the side. In 2016 the Seattle public schools changed their starting bell from 7:50 to 8:45 which is reasonable and researchers collected that they gained an extra 34 minutes of sleep that boosted their 7 to almost 8 hours of sleep which is closer to average. Then, following the later start time, students were more alert, final grades increased by 4.5% and tardiness was reduced. The only worry about starting later is getting out at a later time in the dark.

I believe that high school in the Renton School District should start at 7:50 at the latest which is when middle school starts. It can improve tardiness which helps us because usually at the beginning of class is where the lesson is and the important information needed to understand that day’s content. It can also make teachers’ jobs easier by not having to repeat it. Also, it can be annoying when students nap in class instead of doing their work. You might think that starting later would just mean that we would go to sleep later too and that may be the case for some people but that would be on them. Most of us go to sleep after we’ve done our homework, eat, and have some time to ourselves so… as soon as we can. Overall, having more sleep just puts you in a better mood and this situation has been talked about for a while and not much has been done.