On Nov. 17, the Board of Education (BOE) met to discuss the idea of changing elementary, middle and high school starting times. This topic hasn’t been up for debate since 2004; however, the BOE was inclined to revisit it because they are concerned for the well being of students.
The main worry is that “high school kids have to get more sleep,” Landon said.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 59% of middle school students and 87% of high school students are sleep deprived.
As mentioned on Psych Central’s website, increased stress levels, impaired memory, lack of concentration and impaired creativity and innovation are just a few of the many negative effects caused by lack of sleep.
One proposed solution was to create a two tier system that has the middle and high schools start after the elementary schools. Although this would allow schedules to coincide, making group faculty meetings and sharing of staff a possibility, there are also many cons.
One negative aspect to this is that after school activities would have to be pushed back. For after school sports and religious schools that have fixed times, students would end up missing class. This also means that students who work after school would not be able to get there on time.
Another proposed solution was to create a three tier system, starting with elementary, then middle and lastly high school students. Although this is a less expensive approach, the aspect of safety was brought up.
The youngest students would be waiting in the dark and middle school students would get home in the dark, Landon pointed out.
According to 211 Connecticut, “The NCMEC analyzed more than 4200 attempted abductions from February 2005 to March 2010 and found that 38%… occur while a child is walking alone to or from school, riding the school bus or riding a bicycle.”
Despite the proposed solutions, “[we] should continue to research this and reach out to our public,” BOE member Brett Aronow concluded.
The BOE is hoping to continue discussing this issue and eventually create a concrete proposal.