Benefits and Controversies of Increasing School Start Times for High School Students

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Benefits and Controversies of Increasing School Start Times for High School Students By Kiara Santana
Imagine a teen driver you know getting into a car accident because he/she didn’t get enough sleep the night prior to the accident. Many teens stay up all night doing homework or because they simply can’t fall asleep early enough and yet are still expected to wake up at 6 a.m. and drive to school. The worst accidents are the ones that could have possibly been prevented. As said by Dr. Robert Verona in “Earlier School Start Times Endanger Teen Drivers”, Chesapeake had 46.2 crashes for every 1,000 teen drivers which has a start time of 8:40 a.m. compared to 65.4 per 1,000 teen drivers in Virginia Beach, which starts school at 7:20 a.m. (Holohan). Researchers have found that, contrary to popular belief, adolescents need more sleep, not less, than children and adults (Lawton). High school start times should be pushed back and have a later start time. With teens given about nine hours of sleep and a push back of high school start times, it would benefit high school students by not endangering teens mental and physical health, it would result in more rested and alert students, and the outcome would include fewer absences and less tardiness.

Although proven to cause a disruption in transportation, after school activities, and work schedules for parents or teens, teens need a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each day not only to be more rested and alert students throughout their school day and for after-school jobs, but for puberty as well. With the early start times of school and the combination of jobs, school work, balancing their social life, and most often the result of stress makes it quite difficult to get that kind of shut-eye, therefore causing a change of sleep patterns that prompts teen- agers to fall asleep and wake up late. Ms.Wahlstrom and her colleagues at the Applied- Research Center, stated that the later start time caused an improvement in attendance,...
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