The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a policy
statement. Middle and high schools should not open before 8:30am.
indicates that the sleep-wake cycles of adolescents shift as much as two
hours with puberty. This sleep deprivation is also associated with obesity,
depression, high blood pressure…and lower achievement.
The start of the school day is not the single
factor in addressing this issue. Young people are also tethered to cell phones
and other electronics…frequently taking them to bed with them. They are also
over scheduled…a phenomena plaguing all of our young people. They have little
In Richmond, some middle and high schools start between 8:30
and 9:00…but others begin shortly after 7am. What prevents the change?
Ironically, the debate is often in the home rather than the school
administration building. Nearly twenty years ago, parents in Chesterfield were
asked about starting schools later and 16,000 survey responses called for
The issue is not about children and curriculum…it's about change
and convenience. Public policy should be based on our best research…but often
it is simply based on "not messing with my stuff".