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Do School Schedules Need to Be Fixed?

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Many high school students may want a later school start time in Pennridge; however, this may not be the best course of action. In fact, despite the health benefits that the teens would gain, the community as a whole should keep the current schedule. Therefore, it is in the Pennridge School District’s best interest to maintain the current schedule.

Granted, Pennridge starts its school days far earlier than it should. While Pennridge High School days begin at 7:15 a.m., The American Academy of Pediatrics says that the ideal start time for high school students is 8:30 a.m., which optimizes the amount of sleep they get concerning their circadian rhythms, or a process that follows a pattern that repeats every 24 hours, like sleep cycles. Teenage circadian rhythms are wired for a later bedtime and later rise. Teens will often struggle to get adequate sleep from an early or standard bedtime. As put by Liam Brennan, a senior at Pennridge, “They’re often late because of the start time, and they don’t get enough sleep.” Additionally, a lack of sleep hurts one’s physical and mental health, increases the risk of depression, decreases safety while driving, and makes learning more difficult.

However, the implementation of a later start time has many repercussions. Owen J. Roberts School District recently pushed back its start times, which led to immense backlash from parents, who commented that there would be financial issues for parents regarding childcare, and athletes would lose even more class time. According to parent and former teacher Andrew Poe, “If you push back [elementary and high school times]… that would be very inconvenient for parents who work because most jobs start at 9.” Switching the elementary and high school schedules leaves young kids home alone. Additionally, later high school start times mean less time for students to work or partake in extra-curriculars. In place of changing the start times, Poe recommends less homework, more breaks in the day, and more nutritious meals as ways of maintaining student health. Furthermore, maintaining the current schedule allows the current bus schedule to operate instead of spending the time and money it would require to fix it.

In this way, it is evident that altering the schedule may not be the best solution for promoting student health, especially when there are other alternatives. Pennridge should consider these options before changing the schedules for both students, parents, and many others in this community.

Sources:

https://news.fordham.edu/education-and-social-services/what-time-should-school-really-start/

Gale in Context, Opposing Viewpoints; School Start Times

https://www.pennridge.org/domain/1518

Gale Health & Wellness; Sleep Deprivation

Gale Health & Wellness; Sleep and children: what’s normal?

Gale High School Academic Journals; Excessive sleepiness in adolescents and young adults: causes, consequences, and treatment strategies

Gale High School Academic Journals; Early Elementary School Start Times May Not Harm Kids’ Grades.

https://news.fordham.edu/education-and-social-services/what-time-should-school-really-start/

https://6abc.com/owen-j-roberts-school-district-start-end-times-students-classes/14351393/#:~:text=SOUTH%20COVENTRY%20TWP.%2C%20Pennsylvania%20(,day%20at%20a%20later%20time.

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About the Contributor
Hudson Poe, Student Writer
Hudson Poe, Grade 12. Hudson enjoys strategy games, logic puzzles, sci-fi movies, spending time with his family, and math. He is an active member in NHS and FCA. He plans to go to a currently undetermined college to study physics and hopes to get a master's degree in this field.

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