Opinion: Why Ross High School Should Start Later

A Ross High School student turns off her 5:30 a.m. alarm.

Sarah Eldridge

A Ross High School student turns off her 5:30 a.m. alarm.

With all of the stress that is produced from work, finances, and relationships, the last thing teens should have to worry about is if they are getting enough sleep at night. Ross High School starts at 7:10 am in the morning, which the school board supports because of the fact that students and staff get more free time in the afternoon.

When asked why RHS should start later, staff member and history teacher Lauren Eckstein stated, “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle and high schools start school at 8:30 a.m. or later, though I do think that even an 8 a.m. start would be an improvement. Students’ physical and mental health should be a higher priority: why are we letting young people sleepwalk through their teen years?”

Results from a survey show that 69.8% out of 43 responses want RHS to start later in the day while only 30.2% want to start early in the morning. I believe that RHS should start later in the day because students and staff would be better rested for the day ahead of them.

Constantly starting your day off early can cause many high school student’s stress levels to increase because they don’t get the proper amount of sleep their bodies need to function. Personally I find school days to be very draining because I wake up so early and don’t retain any new information for the first half of my day.

According to responses from the survey, RHS starts early because students and staff members want more time after school rather than before school.

Freshman Joslyn Rider stated, “Personally, because of my sports and everything I rarely get to see my family and if school were to start earlier I would be able to get practice over earlier and I would get to see them more often.”

It is fairly common for high school sports to start as soon as school ends, but some sports have conflicting schedules resulting in staggered practices throughout the night. Because of this, student athletes often become exhausted, especially athletes who participate in multiple sports. Although I agree that having more time for after school activities is important, I also believe that a student’s mental stress should be taken into account when deciding the school start time. Many students stay up late for homework or jobs, so a later start time would allow them to catch up on the sleep they missed earlier that night.

The survey results show that 62.8% of 43 responses function best during the night, so waking up can come as a challenge for them. Changing the RHS start time could help both students and staff members to keep their mental and physical health in check, while also improving the students’ grades in classes. The RHS start time should end later so students and staff can improve mentally and physically with extra sleep.