Should School Start Later?

By Milena Romano and Amy Shen

Staff Writers

Later school start times is a controversial topic among the Jamesville-DeWitt school district. J-DHS students adamantly argue their opinions on later school start times.

“Humans don't really wake up until 8a.m. or 9a.m.,” sophomore Alex Frank believes. An astonishing 81 percent of 122 J-DHS students believe that school should start later. “If school is pushed back, we would wake up ready to learn,” says freshman Joseph DiDomenico.

Most of the students interviewed who want school to start later experience exhaustion, irritation, lack of focus, and dizziness because of a lack of sleep. J-DHS nurse Jill Hayward says teens need 9¼ hours of sleep each night, while the average teen gets less than 7. She believes that the more sleep teens get, the better their mood and learning ability is. “I think the most important piece is making sure that teens get enough sleep no matter what time school actually starts,” says Hayward.    

Is it a possibility for J-DHS to start later? Superintendent Dr. Alice Kendrick says “it’s certainly a possibility” in the future. However, many factors determine school start time. She says one issue is transportation. A later time for high school would cause elementary school to start earlier. Dr. Kendrick says this may cause child care problems in the afternoon because of parents’ work. Sports could also be a problem with competition times against schools that have regular start times  

At J-DHS, 22 percent of students don't want school to start later. “I don't want to get home really late,” says freshman Lauren Westfall. She believes that school should start at its regular time. Sophomore Mackenzie Keeler believes that school should start at 7a.m. instead of 7:45a.m. because she wants more time for sports in the afternoon.

Mr. Gasparini doesn’t believe later start time is the solution to sleep deprivation. “Let’s say we start at 8:45a.m., let's even say we started at 9a.m. Are students going to get any more sleep, or are they going to go to bed later?” asks J-DHS Principal Paul Gasparini with another concern towards later start times. “If you guys are tired, you’re tired,” J-DHS Health teacher Melissa Moore says, believing her students would sleep more if they had the time. She thinks her students suffer from sleep deprivation, saying her first period classes are 50% less talkative because they’re “half asleep.” From a health standpoint, she thinks school should start later.

“We think more, we learn more, we need more sleep,” says freshman Lainey Foti. Senior Paddy Hagan also says that being an athlete affects how he sleeps. “You have a lot on your mind when you go to bed,” says Hagan.

Later school start times - would students use their extra time wisely? Or waste it staying up later? If the J-DHS community wants a change, they can take the issue to the board of education.