There’s a great article this week in the San Jose Mercury News about how school systems are now realizing that one of the reasons teenagers seem to walk around in a daze all the time is that they don’t sleep near enough. Teenagers need more sleep than adults, possibly because of the changes going on in their bodies during adolescence. Schools in the San Jose area and all over the country are moving their start times later, or at least thinking about it, in order to accommodate this added need for sleep:
Last month, the Sequoia Union school board in southern San Mateo County voted for its high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.. New Haven Unified in Alameda County pushed back its start to 8:40 in 2007 and has seen about one percent fewer absences in its 4000 student school. In the Fremont school district officials are surveying students and parents on whether to start later than the current 7:35 start time. And in Santa Clara County the bells still toll at the same times.
“The good side is, students are more awake,” says principal Amy McNamara of Logan High in New Haven. But a few parents complain that sports and extra-curriculars can spill into dinner time, and in the winter, into the dark. “That is a concern,” she says. “It’s not perfect, but you can’t please everybody.”