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Later school starts are not the best solution

A new bill has recently passed stating that schools in California will be required to push back their start times. High schools in California will be required to start school at 8:30 a.m. while middle schools will have to start school at 8 a.m. This law does not affect zero periods. According to the Los Angeles Times, physicians believe this will aid students in getting more hours of sleep. While it may temporarily give students that extra hour of sleep, pushing back the starting times of schools is not the solution to solve the issue of sleep deprivation among students. In fact, this solution to sleep deprivation may have more consequences than anticipated.

With a later start time comes a later end time. When the time school starts gets pushed one hour, so does the time school ends, which may result in conflicts for students who have extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs or other organizations. Athletes already know how difficult it is coming home from school after practice or a game, physically exhausted, and having to tackle five hours of homework. Not only is this mentally exhausting, but it’s physically draining as well. And shouldn’t our best athletes eat healthy and sleep well in order to stay at the top of their game? Pushing back school times would cause athletes or students in general who have extracurriculars to leave school extremely late on weekdays, giving them less time to do things. The amount of work they have doesn’t change, but the amount of time they have does. If students end up staying up late and waking up later, the amount of sleep that they get would stay the same. 

Personally, I struggle a lot if I have night lab and I get home late, if I have a game and I have to come home at 7 p.m. or even if I have practice and I get home at 4:30 p.m. These times, however, would be when students normally get home, taking into account any after school extracurricular activities. When I come home late, I often find myself being overwhelmed with work, on top of having to take care of any chores I have at home. When I’m presented with all these tasks and such little time to do it, I feel as if I’m constantly being rushed, and I cannot give my all to that task.

The new law is a good indication that lawmakers are thinking about the right things regarding student health and the amount of sleep high school and middle school students get. However, students may not want to wake up earlier at 6 or 7 a.m. to catch up on any homework that they might not have done the previous night. Additionally, later starts might pose a conflict to parents who work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. day jobs who can’t drop off their children at 8 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. Parents will receive less time to get to work on time, and conflicts with scheduling may arise. 

While lawmakers are legitimately trying to give teenagers more sleep, pushing back school start times is not the answer. It would be more effective to consider other areas related to students’ lack of sleep, such as limiting the amount of homework or busywork students may receive to help combat the issue of sleep deprivation.

By Flora Lei, Feature editor
Editorial cartoon by Daniela Marquez