Is School Start Time Inhumane?

Is School Start Time Inhumane?

Grace Wilson, Staff Writer

There have been conversations about the controversial subject of what time many school’s start between thousands of scientists, students, teachers, parents, and more. Centennial Middle School’s official start time is eight o’clock in the morning. With foot/ car traffic inside and outside the school, some who arrive at eight o’clock are counted as tardy because they don’t get to their homeroom class in time for the musical bell to stop ringing.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Sleep and Sleep Disorders Unit have stated, “Not getting enough sleep is common among high school students and is associated with several health risks including being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and using drugs, as well as poor academic performance.” They go on to say one of the reasons teenagers do not sleep enough, is school start times. 

The Official Journal Of the American Academy of Pediatrics, have also weighed in on this subject, and have said, “…the evidence strongly implicates earlier school start times (ie, before 8:30 am) as a key modifiable contributor to insufficient sleep, as well as circadian rhythm disruption, in this population.” These professionals also state in this article, that chronic sleep loss has an impact on mental as well as physical health of said students.

Many healthcare professionals that have an opinion on this subject, that also happen to have pre-post adolescent children believe the start time of most public schools is too early for their children and them, since they have to go to work early as well as get their children to school.

Many students at our very own Centennial Middle School, do not actually have very intense opinions on this school’s start time. After interviewing the top-placing female and male student with the best grade in Mrs. Lamb’s eighth grade Language Arts Extensions class, we have come to the conclusion the two students we interviewed, who also happened to be very high in IQ, think the school start time is reasonable. The male student who was interviewed, Max Hornbeck, expressed that he understands how others think the starting time is early but personally, he doesn’t think it is unrealistic. 

The female student, who shall remain unnamed and overall top placing student in terms of grades in Mrs. Lamb’s class has gone on record saying, “I’m not sure what I think about it. I mean I guess it’s fine.” This student has been described by her peers as being passionate about things she cares immensely about, and things she thinks are worth the time that have a large negative effect on other human beings. While these two students that were interviewed, think the time our school begins is not a big deal, there have been reports of these same students thinking it may become a problem in the future.

Our eighth grade students, after about three-quarters of a school year, will officially be in high school. From ninth grade up, many students think they are going to need much more sleep during the night, to have good grades. Teachers that were interviewed do agree, that high schoolers may need more sleep than middle schools, as their classes are generally more stressful and difficult.

Many school teachers should also have the right to have a say and/or an opinion on the time public schools open, since it is their job, and they have to be just as ready as the students in attendance. The apathetic feelings about start time is beginning to become a trend. All of Centennial’s staff that were questioned think our school’s time, and most public school’s start time is perfectly acceptable and realistic.