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The Stinger

The Stinger

Should High School start later?

iStock image
iStock image

Should High School start later? It has been a question that recently a lot of people have been thinking about. Psychologists have studied all different age groups of people, and knowing that teenagers stay up late, they obviously have a hard time waking up early. However, elementary students and young children are always awake earlier. The theory is that if elementary school starts earlier, and high school starts later the kids will be better off. 

According to The Sleep Foundation, adolescents who experience less sleep experience lower grades, higher irritability, a hard time paying attention in class, and more likely to take part in risky behaviors, like bullying. Adolescents’ wake/sleep clock doesn’t shut down or stop working until later at night. Most parents like to blame that on social media or the high use of cell phones, but it is just how our brains and bodies work. On top of the sleep schedule being the way it’s set up, our bodies need more sleep than pretty much any other age group, minus newborns. Teenagers are known to need anywhere from 8-10 hours of sleep every night. However, when school starts at an early time, teenagers are less likely to have the right amount of sleep in order to function properly. 

Elementary-aged kids are easily in bed by 8-9 at night, giving them more than enough sleep at night in order to be awake earlier. Seeing as they still need anywhere from 7-8 hours at night, they go to bed earlier, being that they can wake up better. Sleep is one of the biggest things to help the body stay healthy, and when a child/ adolescent doesn’t get enough sleep, it makes the body easily accessed by germs and makes the person easily sick. When someone is sick their body requires more sleep in order to recover faster. The law only lets kids miss so many days before someone is required to pay a fee for the number of days missed. School starting early and “sick season” mixed together make for a lot of sick days. But we are only allowed so many days, which forces students to come to school even when they feel ill, risking others to illness as well. 

Nearly 60% of middle schoolers do not get enough sleep on school nights. For high schoolers, that number is over 70%. Adolescents need sleep, and the schools ignoring the fact that they aren’t getting enough doesn’t help anyone. Teachers and administrators get mad when students can’t pay attention in class, or can’t stay awake, but they are partially responsible for that. We are in school for 8 hours a day, which is a lot just with that, but on top of that little to no sleep adds to the issue of attention deficit disorder. Numbers for ADHD and ADD have become larger over the years, with certain age groups, it’s worse. Some blame it on cell phones, or children being constantly overstimulated, and that may be a small chunk, but so is not enough sleep.

“I think that starting high school later would benefit me, as well as many others, with extra sleeping hours. Furthermore, researchers say that when students get a good night’s rest before an exam they perform much better than those who do not do not. So if high school started later teachers would see major improvements in participation, concentration, and overall grades.” Quoted from Homer-Center student Mason Sisco.

Most of the arguments schools have against high school starting later is the transportation for the elementary students. However, elementary can start sooner, and high school starts later. Elementary students are in bed earlier, therefore they wake up earlier. If we were to switch the time elementary school and high schools start, we could take down two birds with one stone. 

Teenagers need sleep, and I believe schools need to look into helping students do better by starting school later in the day. If they genuinely care about students’ mental and physical health the way they claim, they would look into changing the time for school to start. 

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About the Contributor
Audrey Farmery, Writer and Photographer
"I will not and do not fear tomorrow, for I feel as though today has been enough"- Zach Bryan
My name is Audrey Farmery, I'm a senior at Marion Center as well as at the Indiana County Technology Center for Graphics. I am also involved in the National Technical Honor Society, National Honor Society, and SkillsUSA. I am looking forward to being involved in the Stinger Newspaper to further my photography skills as well as my writing abilities. I am also involved in ICTC's School Scribes. I wanted to become a member last year, but being an ICTC student this was my first opportunity to join a club since my 8th-grade year, when Covid hit.
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