On October 13, 2019, senate bill No. 328 was approved by the California governor which required all California schools to push start times to begin no earlier than 8:00 and 8:30 a.m by July 1, 2022. The time has come and this has caused a very diverse mix of opinions from staff and students at Don Antonio Lugo High school.
There are some students opposed to this bill because their other schedules will have to be pushed to a later time causing nights to be longer, “For me personally, I don’t see anything good with the later start time” said Christian Hartson. This is a valid concern but in my opinion the benefits outweigh the cons. I believe that the benefits to the later start time will compensate for the longer day.
Teenagers from 13 to 18 years old should be getting eight to ten hours of sleep and this should be non-negotiable because students that do not get enough sleep are more prone to being overweight, having depression/anxiety, using drugs/ alcohol, and performing unsatisfactorily in school.
As I grew up, I would always argue against earlier school starting times, and in response, I would be told “I wake up this early all the time, even earlier, so if I can do it, you can do it too,” or even the famous “It’s to prepare you for life after high school, “As I have gained more knowledge of the difference between adolescents and adults and life in general, I can now see the inaccuracies in these claims and can confute them.
Let us start with, “life after high school.” First, what is life after high school? It could mean college, work, or just traveling the world. With each of these options, you get a choice. In college, you get to choose which classes you want and at what time you want to attend them. Yes, sometimes the class will only be offered at seven in the morning but you get the choice to attend that class, choose an online option, or choose another class. When you work you get to choose the hours you want or do not want. One of the questions most managers ask is the hours you are willing to work in an interview. Also, adults’ and teenagers’ sleep cycles should never be compared because a grown adult and a developing teenager have different biological rhythms which lead to different needs that have to be met. So starting high school at seven in the morning is not beneficial.
A lot of teenagers skip breakfast because they are in a rush to get ready in the morning due to the early start times, “Breakfast has been suggested to positively affect learning in children in terms of behavior, cognitive, and school performance” said the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Starting later would give students enough time to eat properly giving them overall more energy resulting in an improvement in behavioral problems in students. This would also improve academic performance which directly helps the school because good academic performance improves the school performance ranking.
School tardiness has been a huge problem especially when it comes to being late to the first period of the day. Since it has been a major problem, Dr. Wong, principal of Don Lugo, has implemented a policy to give a detention to a student that has been tardy five times whereas in recent years it was eight. A later start time will greatly benefit the school by reducing tardies, “I think this could be a great idea to improve attendance and to help students stay more engaged” said Elias Guzman.
Staff, parents and students will have to get on board with this new policy soon because this will take effect by July 1, 2022. People may be reserved about this now but it will greatly benefit the health of students and the overall academic performance all while improving the school’s image and funding.