School starts earlier, Conroe ISDs new mandate sparks up questions

Brianna Warriner, Reporter

Caney Creek has just moved it’s start time 10 minutes earlier, students have been struggling with coming to school on time. School was already extremely early and somehow just got earlier. No one in their right mind would choose to wake up at 5 a.m. to catch a bus at 6 a.m. to start school at 7 a.m, unfortunately most students do. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, school should not begin earlier than 8:30 am for middle school and high school students. Students need the extra time to get their 8 hours of sleep for proper brain health. This can be an issue for students, especially since teenagers are hardwired to go to sleep at a later time according to Kids Health Magazine.

An even bigger issue with sleep schedules pertains to working students who have to stay late at their jobs.

An interview with Caney Creek Junior, Carolyn Palmer, reveals that she gets up at 6 a.m. to leave the house at 6:30 in order to make it to school by 7 a.m. By the time school is over, Palmer makes it back home by 2:50 p.m. She gets about an hour of rest time before she has to leave for work at 4:15 p.m. only to make it home by 10 p.m. Finally, Palmer goes to bed by 11:00 p.m. after she goes through her nightly routine.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has said teenagers should be sleeping a total of eight to ten hours a day for good health. Teenagers who do not get enough sleep are more likely to not engage in daily physical activity, suffer symptoms of depression and perform poorly in school. By starting school at 7 a.m. schools are setting up students for failure. 

With so many students being encouraged to  join different clubs and sports in the morning and afternoon, they are only left with a little time to be social and to relax. According to Rise And Shine Children’s National, most high school students fall asleep around 11 p.m. If students are waking up at 5 a.m. in order to catch a bus at 6 a.m. This means that they are only getting six hours of sleep. Students who drive to school can probably have some more time to sleep and can leave their house slightly later, but this still only leaves a couple of hours of sleep a night.

The obvious solution to this problem would be to just move the start time to later in the day, but that’s probably not going to happen since the bus schedule works on a time slot that includes the high school, the intermediate and Junior High schools, and the elementary schools. 

There may be hope for the future though with many schools like those in California taking the big step to prioritize students’ health and wellbeing by starting no earlier than 8:30 a.m. EdSource says that California took the step to make this change because the state governor sided with pediatricians and the PTA on students’ health and well-being. 

With both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC advocating for later start times, professor of biology in Washington, Horacio de la Iglesia, PHD said “A single measure like delaying start time by almost one hour had a huge impact.” By moving school start times later, dropout rates, depression and academic success would be affected in positive ways.

Schools should take the first step to making life easier by making school start later.