Should the School Day Start Later?


Here at BHS the first period bell rings at 7:32am. At Jericho High School they start school at 8:59am. Studies show high school students are among the most sleep-deprived groups. Schools with later start times found significant improvements in students’ performances. So what do you think? Should BHS start later?

When teenagers are going through puberty their brains are producing melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. It’s difficult to fall asleep immediately because their brains are so active, so they sit in bed for a while. Nowadays teens lay in bed on their phones and are more distracted than ever which causes them to lose sleep. Chronic sleep loss has health risks. It’s been associated with poor school performance, higher risk for depression symptoms, obesity, cardiovascular problems, risk-taking behaviors, and athletic injuries.

According to, 40% of school districts start classes prior to 8 a.m., and only 15% begin later. Students who take the bus daily or have to go to school early for extra help or other activities may find themselves waking up 5 a.m., groggy and unable to focus. As time has gone on, school districts that once may have started at 9am have created earlier start times, making for unhappier students. When students are able to sleep in, it allows them to get a full night’s rest, reenergizing themselves and boosting their moods. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended school should not begin any earlier than 8:30 a.m. It is no secret students are more encouraged to start their days and get to class when they are well-rested. Not only that, studies have shown that earlier school starts lead to increased tardy rates and absences.

On Thursday, March 8th all Bethpage Schools entered school two hours later than the original time due to poor weather conditions. Students had the opportunity to sleep in a little later than usual. Not to mention the 42 minute periods were cut short to 29 minutes. So many of our classmates vocalized their preference of the later start time by saying, “Imagine school started at 9:30 everyday!”

Many districts argue the importance of starting classes early, as to not push back extracurricular activities and keep students in school later than necessary. However, it has been voiced by many students they would rather have the opportunity to sleep in, and not mind staying at school a little later.

“I really like the idea of being to wake up later everyday,” says senior Stephanie D’Agostino. “I definitely see myself focusing more and waking up in a better mood.

Would you support the change to a later school start?