School Starting Times: Let Us Sleep


Alexandra Silva , Editor

Every day at Waterford High School, an average of 35 to 50 students come in late, likely due to the early-morning start. Not only do students disagree with a 7:25 a.m. start, but it is neurologically unhealthy. Professor Foster at Brown University says, “Teenagers’ body clocks can be delayed between two and four hours and they don’t start to function until 10 a.m. as or as late as noon.” In spite of this, only 15 percent of United States high schools have their first bell ringing at 8:30 a.m. or later, according to CBS News.


The majority of teenagers in America receive insufficient amounts of sleep, which can impact their learning and productivity. Schools like Waterford High School experience many instances in which low quality work is completed by students with a lack of sleep. From after-school activities, late nights, and sleep deprivation, the argument of whether or not Waterford schools should start later is an ongoing conflict within the district. Many students have after-school activities that require them to be dismissed around 2:10 p.m. If school started at a later time, it would inevitably end at a later time. This could impact the amount of homework a student-athlete is able to complete by the end of the day. For example, Cross Country at Waterford High begins at 2:45. A change in the school times will force practice to start as late as 3:10 p.m. In addition, football practice begins at 2:30 p.m., and ends at 5:30. Since school will be ending at 3:40 p.m., football will end as late as 6:20 p.m. Furthermore, meets and games would end much later, including up to an hour ride to their location.


Another con for this change would be that the entire district would be impacted. Buses drop students off around 7a.m. at Waterford High. The change in school times would force bus schedules to alter, requiring a later drop off time. Each route would affect middle school bus schedules as well, causing all schools to either change their starting times, or buy new, expensive buses. The entire district would be affected by the change in the school times. It is likely that some students and staff would disagree with a change such as working at a later time of the day.  


There are also many benefits to a later starting school day in that complicate the issue. Students are more likely to receive the recommended amount of sleep and become less likely to drink excessive amounts of caffeine if school started at 7:55. Caffeine drinking at teen ages can delay brain function and increase levels of anxiety throughout the day. Increased amounts of sleep can result in less anxiety, stress, and unhealthy habits. Researchers conclude that decreased amounts of sleep result to students depending on caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine to function properly. This results in poor academic performances. Students argue that changing the time Waterford High School starts could avoid problems with poor academic activity caused by sleep deprivation. This change can help students at Waterford High by making them more alert and mentally active during the school day. Altering the school times at WHS could be both beneficial and complicated. Many teachers and students are in favor with this change, while some professionals are against it.