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Should School Start Later?

School is hard, no doubt about that, but waking up at six in the morning to catch your 6:15 bus can be even harder! There are many reasons why students stay up late—doing homework, studying, late-night practice, or just trying to live as a teenager. Why does school have to start at 7 AM for most public high schools?

students tired in school

This start time of school hasn’t changed because many students-especially in rural Iowa- had to work on farms in the past. Students had to wake up at 4 AM, feed and milk animals, and tend to some farmland for a few hours before breakfast and school.

Thankfully, because of new technology and research, we can see that this start time doesn’t work for most students. This works for younger students up until puberty hits (roughly 13 years old). After that, students are supposed to get a recommended eight to ten hours of sleep a night. Most of North Scott’s students don’t get the recommended amount of sleep.

77.1% reported that they get less than eight, and 49% get less than seven.--Results of survey done at North Scott

This is detrimental to students’ performance in school. A student reports they get less than four hours of sleep a night on average, and their grades are mostly Ds. They also believe school should start later. A different student gets more than eight hours of sleep a night, gets As in classes, and doesn’t think school should start later. Is this a product of their own faults, or should school actually start later?

People who get less sleep tend to struggle in school.

60.4% of the student body said yes, school should start later. So did the CDC. The CDC, as of 2022, said middle and high schools should start at 8:30 or later. If you don’t get enough sleep at night, you have a higher chance of gaining weight, suffering symptoms of depression, and depleting your immune system (meaning you’ll get ill quicker).

A few students commented that school should start later due to workplaces typically being open until 10 PM, which doesn't give students the chance to achieve eight hours of sleep, given they probably have homework and other duties to attend to. Because of this, there is a ton of research that points to school starting later, but it is going to take a big push from the community to get it changed.

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