Got Sleep?


      Following scientific studies and input from parents, teachers, and students alike, much of the country is considering switching to later high school start times. In fact, Dr. Griffin, the superintendent of SCPS, is considering testing out the change. His proposal? Switch the high school and elementary school schedules, putting high school at an 8:35, rather than 7:20, start. 

      Mrs. Black, an AP Psychology teacher, supports pushing high school start times back by at least an hour. She explained that teenagers’ circadian rhythms favor wakeup times between 7:00 and 7:30, and therefore our brains just aren’t designed to think earlier than 8:00. 

      Mr. Guttierrez, a twelfth grade English teacher, said, “I personally support it because sleep deprivation is a big issue that limits academic achievement. But, I think the subsequent later ending time produces a scheduling conflict for students who have work, sports, or other extracurriculars after school.”

       While ending an hour later may seem unappealing to some, junior Christine Ruggiero finds it worthwhile. “By the time I get out of school, I’m exhausted and I really want to sleep.” It’s much easier to fully devote ourselves to extracurriculars and jobs when we’re not struggling to keep our eyes open, and we’d be much less tired, even with the same amount of sleep, by starting school an hour later.

      Additionally, Mrs. Black furthers that elementary schoolers, full of energy, could easily be up and ready to learn by 7:15. “My own daughter, who currently goes to Lake Mary Elementary, could handle an earlier school start time much better than teenagers.” 

      Though starting later sounds perfect for most high schoolers, switching times with the elementary schoolers would create some problems. Junior Meera Kochar explained that some of her high school friends rely on getting out of school earlier than their elementary-aged brothers and sisters since many can’t stay home alone. Though after-school programs currently exist, they’re often costly and inaccessible. Plus, for many parents who work until 5:00 or later, having their elementary-aged children finish school an hour earlier doesn’t really change anything. But a universal childcare system, proposed by multiple presidential candidates, could eliminate these issues altogether.

      Currently, 232 Rams, or nearly 10% of our student body, take first period off by doing a virtual or dual enrollment class. We’re so tired that we’re willing to take a class off-campus in order to sleep later. While a good option, this doesn’t work for the majority of students who require buses or carpools to get to school. 

      Is our sleep deprivation enough to get SCPS to change high school start times? The good news: we’re already on our way.