Opinion: Start times are starting problems

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By: Julie Hutchison, Staff Writer

Over the past few years Chesterfield County Public Schools’ school board has been debating if they should switch elementary school start times with high school start times. Many high school students and teachers are against the change; however, some think this change could be beneficial.

The school board should not change the school start times because many high school students have jobs that they work at after school to support their family. Getting out at 3:45 and still having to do homework and get to their job might keep them from supporting their families or doing their homework.

Other students who participate in school sports wouldn’t be getting home until as late as seven, and they still have to do their homework which could take another two hours, leaving little time for eating and personal hygiene.  

¨As nice as it would be to wake up later everyday, it would be annoying to get out of school super late, especially since I have two hour rowing practices,¨ freshman Brooke Alexander said.

Some parents rely on their high school students to get their younger children off the bus in the afternoon. With elementary children getting off the bus at 1:50 and high school students not getting out until 3:45 many families would have to pay for daycare.

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Elementary students would have to wake up while it is still pitch black and walk to the bus stop. Photo by Julie Hutchinson

According to Chesterfield County Public School’s website, it would cost $3-$4 million dollars to switch elementary and high school times. They would have to buy 30-40 new school buses and hire additional drivers.

Switching the school start times would mean some elementary school students would have to get up as early as 5:50 in order to be at their bus stop by 6:30. During the winter the temperatures can be below freezing that early in the morning, and during the spring and fall it would dark, which are two problems that can be avoided.

High school students can deal with getting up early, the cold, and the dark but five year olds might not be able to.

Some people might think that switching the start times is good because high school students go to sleep late and if the times change we will get an extra two hours of sleep, but if high school students know that they will just stay up later. The later they have to get up the later they are going to stay up.

Switching the start times would not be a wise decision. Yes, there are some positives, but overall there would be more negatives. High schoolers have adjusted to waking up at the crack of dawn but it would be a lot harder on younger children. Nothing has been decided yet and you can voice any of your opinions at the school board’s next meeting.

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