Why School Should Start Later



Starting school before 8:30 AM may be a thing of the past with new NJ legislation.

Franc Romanowski, Contributor, Class of 2024

It’s a familiar situation for many students. Rushing out of bed, taking a shower, getting some breakfast, hustling to get to the classroom, all before 7:45 AM. Yet most of the time, I find students arriving in the classroom past the bell.


It’s not only arriving to class on time that is the challenge. It’s also trying to stay engaged in class while you’re still tired, which is a constant struggle for many students and teachers alike.


As an EHS student, I have lived these struggles. Trying to beat buses and cars to get to the front door to arrive on time proves challenging, as everyone competes to access the only entry drive to the high school. It’s also hard when I’m in class, trying to stay engaged with what is being taught without yawning up a storm.


Hence why school should start later. Research shows if students get more sleep, they are more likely to perform better in school and a later start time would allow a greater chance for students to arrive at school on time.


According to an article from the CDC it is recommended that, “middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later to give students the opportunity to get the amount of sleep they need…”


By giving students the chance to get more sleep, less students will wake up late to come into school and that means a better on-time rate. More sleep also lessens the chances of students engaging in risky behaviors.


“Adolescents that do not get enough sleep are more likely to: be overweight, not engage in daily physical activity, suffer from the symptoms of depression, engage in unhealthy risk behaviors such as drinking, smoking, and using illicit drugs, and perform poorly in school”, the article went on to say.


The benefits of a later school start time already seem to be noticed by New Jersey lawmakers. There is already a bill that will require high schools to begin no earlier than 8:30 AM. If it became law, it would take effect in the 2024-2025 school year.


Despite these benefits, there would be sacrifices that would need to be made for schools to start later. Parents and students would need to adjust their schedules around this change and it would impact how after school activities are run as well.


That’s something to keep in mind if you agree school should start later. For me though, I see a later school start time as something that is a much needed change for our school system.