By: Nevin Shatzer
Is 7:25 a.m. too early of a start time for school? The Howard County Board of Education seems to think so, pushing for new start times as late as 8:30 a.m. within the next two years. Although on paper this seems like a good way to provide teens with more rest, I can’t help but wonder whether these later start times will actually have their intended effect.
As a collective group, most (students) find themselves struggling to wake up in the morning and staying awake during school, leading some to fall asleep in class, pay less attention, and develop unhealthy caffeine habits.
According to a study done at Harvard, “When we are sleep deprived, our focus, attention, and vigilance drift, making it more difficult to receive information. Without adequate sleep and rest, overworked neurons can no longer function to coordinate information properly, and we lose our ability to access previously learned information.”
Gaining over an extra hour before school starts seems like a great plan for giving students extra rest for the day and allowing their brains to work to their full capabilities, but will students actually take advantage of the additional time?
When junior Reuben Darty was posed with this question, he stated that, “An extra hour would be so nice and I would definitely use it to rest since I'm always tired at school."
Later start times would seem to also make mornings a lot less hectic for students.
“Most mornings I'm rushing out the door to catch the bus” and that “extra time would make mornings much less stressful," said sophomore Vaughn Sines.
On the other hand, junior DJ Anderson, had a an opposing view, saying “People will just use the extra hour to stay up longer the night before."
Taking these two points of view into consideration, all three students present an interesting perspective on what the future holds in terms of school starting times. Although I can see both scenarios occurring, I support the later start times. Students can not be forced to use this extra time responsibly, but it's still better to give them the option of more rest rather than no choice at all.
As long as students use this extra time for its intended use and the school can figure out a way to start school later without affecting after-school clubs and sports, a later start time is a great idea and should, overall, improve students' school experience.