School Starting Later Is Not Benneficial

Kate Roney, News Editor

Students are always complaining. Complaining about their homework, complaining about their grades, complaining about their siblings and/or their parents. Complaining about being tired. But who I am I to judge? I do the same thing, constantly. 

Being tired is undoubtedly the biggest complaint that rings through the hallways of a highschool. It clangs against the metal of the lockers and chairs, it hangs suspended in the air within the heavy sighs end-of-term-induced AP students, and scrapes along the ground on the shoe soles of juniors and seniors.

People have fooled themselves into thinking that by moving the start of school back by an hour the problem of sleep depravity will be solved and become a distant memory. These people are dreaming.. This will not solve the winding complaints and cavernous shadows failingly concealed by drugstore foundation. It will only change the hours.

Moving school back does not guarantee more sleep, because there are still things that need to get done by the close of the day. 

If school were to be dramatically pushed back to provide students with more time to sleep, sports and clubs would end later and transportation would likely become an issue. During winter months it is possible that students would be walking home in the dark.

“I do wonder what kind of accommodations would be made for sports and job-like situations,” French teacher Rebecca Bennion said.

Exactly, what about student jobs? A lot of students here at Highland work. These are usually part time jobs that start around 5 and have 3-4 hour shifts. Would it really be expected for businesses to change their shift schedules to accommodate later start times that already slow their daytime employees commute to work in the morning? 

The majority of establishments in Sugarhouse close their doors around 8:00-9:00 p.m. This means that if a student can only start work around 6 there is a potential that they will not be able to work full four hour shifts, this is a deal-breaker for employment. Forcing students to accept later shifts will only increase competition for part time jobs, something some students rely on, and result in them staying up later with a later shift and a mountain of homework awaiting their arrival.

The issues wouldn’t end here, transportation and extracurricular activities would be a big complication with a push-back on start times, but according to the survey, school wouldn’t be pushed back by all that much. The survey gave three options of time changes, the largest change being 45 minutes later. Everyone is saying that a time change will help students get more sleep, but is 45 minutes worth all the transportation and traffic hassle?

“I think it could be beneficial,” Olivia Fischer, a junior, said, “but I don’t think it will make much of a difference.”

Most elementary and middle schools start around 8:30; if Highland started around the same time the onslaught of frazzled soccer moms and inexperienced high school drivers competing for the road would be very stressful. This fight for the green-light would mean people in the community, highschool drivers and soccer moms alike, would have to wake up earlier with knowledge of a longer drive to school/work due to heavier flow of traffic. So people would just be getting up anyways, this wouldn’t mean more rest, nothing would really change.

Furthermore, teenagers are not great with realizing consequences and the likelihood that students would use this extra time to sleep is considerably low.

“I wonder if in this time of 24 hour access to screens, how well that time would actually be used for getting more sleep,” Bennion said.

My generation loves screens almost as much as we love complaining, so why give either up? Knowing the thought process of procrastination quite personally, to an underdeveloped brain this sounds like the perfect invalid validation to stay up later, and staying up later than what is already a late hour after completing homework is not going to aid in sleep. Screens are addicting, and it’s even easier to give in to that addiction when you can find excuses. So the consequentially unaware students stay up on their phones all night, and then get to complain to their friends about how tired they are and how much they hate the new schedule. Not so different from when they complain about this year’s schedule.

Changing the start time may seem incredibly enticing, however it creates little change and requires lots of energy and hoop jumping. 

“I personally am not a morning person, so if school started at like… 8:30, I would love that,” geography teacher Julie Hamilton said.

I acknowledge my bias as a morning person, however, stepping outside of this personality trait I still do not see the benefits outweighing the cost.