Point/Counterpoint: Starting later is good for students

The+later+start+time+has+sparked+controversy+among+parents%2C+students%2C+and+staff.+But+the+whether+or+not+this+change+is+beneficial+to+students+is+still+in+question.+

Claire Meng

The later start time has sparked controversy among parents, students, and staff. But the whether or not this change is beneficial to students is still in question.

Claire Meng, Reporter

Inglemoor’s change in start time, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., is a significant change for the better. Later school start times have been shown to reduce health risks, raise grades and drop mental illness rates in high school students. This is a change that has been researched, encouraged and highly anticipated by the Northshore community for over a decade. Shifting the start time 45 minutes later, and eventually more, will make students happier and healthier. 

The Northshore community at large was the primary advocate fighting for this adjusted schedule, beginning when high schools started as early as 7:05 a.m. Wendy Reynolds, whose child is now a senior, has been participating in groups like Parents Advocating for Later Start (PALS), speaking out at board meetings and sharing opinions in online forums since 2005. 

“I knew [starting early] went against all the research. You know, high school students should not be starting at seven o’ clock,” Reynolds said.

In a 2017 Centers for Disease Control survey, only 25% of high school-aged adolescents reported sleeping at least 8 hours a night, the minimum recommended time. For many high schoolers, extracurricular activities like clubs and hobbies take up time outside of school. As homework and responsibilities pile up, sleep is sacrificed and stress builds. The stress exacerbates sleep deprivation and causes students to fall further behind, creating a vicious cycle that wrecks lives. Starting school later makes it less likely that students will fall into this cyclic self-ruin, and extra sleep could give them the boost they need to break free of it. 

This new change is only part one of two for NSD, which will eventually move high school start times to 8:30 a.m. or later, as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine strongly recommends. More schools across the country are relying on science and adapting to the circadian rhythm of teenagers, which require at least 8-10 hours for best health. Consistently falling short of this minimum can lead to higher chances of drug abuse, car accidents and sports injuries, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Pushing back high school start times has led to more sleep, and not later bedtimes, in studies conducted all over the world. 

However, nothing good comes without drawbacks. Later start times means later dismissal times. Some parents are dissatisfied because their teenagers are unable to care for younger siblings. Students complain that ending later leaves less time for homework and jobs after extracurriculars. Additionally, buses leaving at a later time means they get stuck in bad traffic, which is already a problem. However, these problems can all be solved by rearranging schedules and transportation. 

This new change emerged because of overwhelming evidence and recommendations from scientists, officials and the community. Many students enjoy the extra sleep, and some wish school started even later. Students will have an upgraded education and quality of life because of this change. With all the research and planning backing this decision, it is undeniable that the later start times this year are good for students.