Are We Getting Later School Start Times Anytime Soon?

By Alejandra Granados, Staff Writer

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On September 20, 2018, Governor Brown vetoed a bill that would require middle and high school
districts to impose school start times no later than 8:30 a.m.
In his veto message, Governor Brown states that Senate Bill 328, “Is a one-size-fits-all approach
that is opposed by teachers and school boards. Several schools have already moved to later start times.
Others prefer beginning the school day earlier. These are the types of decisions best handled in the local
community.” The governor’s verdict would allow individual school districts to determine whether later
start times is the best option for the overall well being of their students and educators. The California
Teachers Association and the California School Boards Association openly argued against the bill, with
Senate Bill 328, was initially proposed by Senator Anthony Portantino in early 2017, with the
intention of giving students additional time to sleep in order to improve their health. The bill is supported
by countless studies showing that by enacting a later school start time, students’ academic performance,
attention, and attendance improve. Extensive research has also shown that because of the increased
attention, the number of car accidents decreases.
Despite the beneficial aspects, opposers of the bill argue that it could have other, more negative
effects. For example, many students would have to rely on public transportation instead of their parents to
get to school. This could cause unwanted congestion on roads. Students would also have less time to do
homework, as extracurricular activities and sports would run later into the afternoon. This might be costly
for communities, especially during winter, when the sun sets earlier and schools would have to provide
lighting for a longer period of time. Parents have also pointed out that students might use the change as an
excuse to go to sleep even later, which would eliminate all the positive effects that the bill is meant to
The bill has sparked a lot of discussion and many endorsers have even gone as far as to say that
lawmakers are setting young adults up to fail. Sleep researcher Dr. Irena Keller stated, “Even though this
bill will surely inconvenience some adults and will create problems for many schools, all of these can be
solved within three years of implementation period and no amount of work on the part of adults can
compare with the benefits for our children’s physical and mental health as well as safety.” While the fight
for later school start times might seem over, Rafael Pelayo, professor of psychiatry and behavioral
sciences at Stanford, claims that it’s just beginning.

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