Should the Henderson School Start Time be Delayed?
According to the National Sleep Foundation:
Teens need 8-10 hours of sleep to function best.
Most teens don’t reach that benchmark. A study found that only 15% of teens reported getting 8 ½ hours of sleep on school nights.
Usually teens’ sleep schedules shift throughout the week, trending towards alter nights and later wake-ups on weekends.
Drowsy driving causes 72,000 car accidents in one year.
Henderson has over 100 clubs and sports, most of them taking place after school.
On average, high school students are assigned 3.5 hours of homework per weeknight (LA Times).
1 in 4 high school students over age 15 have jobs.
High schools are starting to delay their start times across the country, including nearby Phoenixville Area School District, in the last few years.
West Chester Area School District is considering delaying our start time by a half hour during the 2021- 22 school year.
THE DEBATE: Should the Henderson school start time be delayed?
Yes- In order to be our best selves, both inside and outside of the classroom, we need to delay our school start time. We’ve tried a homework policy. We’ve tried sending out messages about technology-free bedrooms. Yet we still hear people say, “I’m exhausted” as they walk into homeroom. We still hear people say, “I have so much homework tonight” as they get on the bus. A school start time could change all of that. Studies show that longer and better quality sleep is linked to better grades, work ethic, and mood. Not to mention, drowsy driving ends up causing 72,000 car accidents each year. So, many people within the district could be saved from injury or even death if the school start time is delayed. And because students have an average of 3.5 hours of homework each night, many end up staying up until the early morning, only to awaken a few hours later. Imagine how nice it would be to have that extra half hour of sleep in the morning. This simple change could help out the next generation to be more productive, happy, and overall, the best we can possibly be.
No- A delayed start time wouldn’t magically fix every single problem that high schoolers face today. Many people argue that teens don’t stay up later when their bell schedule is delayed. But after speaking to several students, we found that if teens know they can sleep in the next morning, chances are they’re going to stay up. Over the course of time, when this delay becomes the new normal, everything will just be pushed back, and that includes the time that we go to sleep. Not to mention, one in four high schoolers over the age of 15 work. Almost every student at Henderson participates in a club or sport. On average, high schoolers have 3.5 hours of homework every weeknight. And many Henderson students are looking at, applying for, and getting ready for college. We only have so much time to do all of these pretty daunting things. That time will either shrink or go later into the night if the district follows through with this new policy. But that doesn’t mean we’re ignoring the countless studies that links sleep to our health. Instead of implementing this policy, which won’t do much good, we could limit homework, make assignment due dates before midnight, talk to teens about drowsy driving in their Driver’s Education classes, and educate our students about why we need to go to sleep earlier. Yes, waking up while it’s still pitch black outside is always a pain. But then, you can start your day with some of the most beautiful sunrises.
And for 7 AM, what’s better than that?
So, after reading both sides of the story, what do you think? Should the West Chester Area School District delay our bell schedule, or do you like it the way it is?