Etched in Stone

Teens need a solution, this is not it

Anna Henning

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When looking at statistics about teens needing more sleep, it is easy to believe that changing start times will be beneficial to high school students. Ideally, starting school later in the morning will allow students more time to sleep, improving their overall health and helping to enhance performance in school. However, when considering all of the things that are going to be pushed later besides school, I do not think this change will help students.

Although I like the idea of starting school later and being able to sleep in every day, ending the day at a later time will have multiple negative effects on my life outside of the classroom. I, like so many others at Fossil Ridge High School, have to stay up ridiculously late to complete all my homework each night. For me, homework does not usually start until around 8 p.m. because of dance practices after school, and ending at 4 p.m. will shift the entire dynamic of my day. I spend hours on homework each day regardless of when I start, and starting homework at a later time means finishing at a later time. To get everything done, I will be staying up even later and will get the same amount or less sleep than I currently do. I rarely get more than five to six hours of sleep, and I do not believe starting school later will fix this issue. I have not slept in for a single late start this year. I either get up early to finish work, or I go into school early to complete work I missed from being absent. If school started at 9 a.m, I would probably still get up very early.

I have heard from countless other students who do not like this change because of their extracurricular activities, sports, or jobs. People are going to have less flexibility with their jobs because of school ending at a later time. Additionally, some athletic programs at Fossil plan on taking advantage of the time before school to hold practices, and these students may end up getting up earlier than they currently do to attend such practices. Athletics will also go later into the evening, which means it will cost the district more to keep field lights on. Students will have less time to do homework in the evenings. Some students who travel for athletics already have to leave school in the middle of the day, normally missing one class period on game days. School starting later will mean student athletes will miss even more class time, and keeping up with missing so much school during the busy sports seasons will be another obstacle for them.

Transportation to and from school is another major concern for many students. Some students who cannot drive yet rely on their parents to drive them to school on the way to work. School starting in 9 a.m. will mean these parents will already be at work, and students are concerned about how they will get to school. Those who have to drive a long way to get to school may get to wake up later, but they will also get home much later, and in the winter will have to drive at night to get home. For new drivers, driving at night is more dangerous, and the risk of having an accident is raised. Some students drive their younger siblings to elementary and middle school if their parents are unable to do so. With the shifting times, elementary and middle schools will end earlier than high school, and it will be difficult to figure out how to get transportation after school. These younger siblings are going to have to wait a few hours before being able to be picked up.

The main reason this decision was made was because there is a concern about students not getting enough sleep. However, shifting the school session is not going to fix this problem. If students have the same amount of homework, they are going to have later nights trying to get it all finished. If the school board really wants to improve health and performance in school, they need to find ways to reduce student stress, accommodate outside activities, and make the workload outside of school smaller. I do believe that teens should get more sleep, and many of my health issues recently could have been caused by the lack of it. However, this will not solve the problem.

Even though Poudre School District took many surveys and thought a lot about the decision, I feel like student voices were not really heard. It seems like they put out a survey just to say that they got other’s input, and then made their own decision. School is going to start a whole hour and a half later next year, and I do not know if there is any way to change this decision now that it has been made. Leading up to the next school year, I hope that the school can find ways to create a good schedule and accommodate everyone’s transportation and academic needs. I truly want to believe that this will be a good change, but I cannot ignore all of the obstacles in the way.

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Teens need a solution, this is not it”

  1. Caroline on December 2nd, 2018 2:37 pm

    Great job- both of you guys! You made the topic very interesting and expressed all of the controversies.

  2. Garrett Jones on December 3rd, 2018 8:21 am

    I think changing the start time is so dumb. They said they sent out surveys but I looked through my inbox and I didn’t see a single survey from them district. They didn’t listen to us at all.

  3. Ryan on December 6th, 2018 10:05 am

    I’ve heard from many people that they will either be getting up earlier than they do now for sports and/or doing homework now that they don’t have as much time after school. Very few people will get more sleep, and some will get less, meaning student health is going to decline further. If they want to help, they shouldn’t expect us to get 8-10 hours of sleep, go to school for the full day, do athletics and extracurricular activities, and do several hours of homework. There’s only so much time in a day, so either shorten the school day, or give us less homework. I don’t know about the district’s plans regarding homework, but from what I’ve heard nothing in that respect will change. Great job covering the topic to both of you!

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Teens need a solution, this is not it