Start School Later – Con


Sophie Picone, Editor

A proposed New Jersey bill that would push back school start times has many people thinking about the great effects that this change could have. The truth is, however, starting school later will only produce a host of complications and should simply be avoided.
For one thing, such a dramatic change will wreak havoc on bus routes and other schools’ schedules. Bus route run times for the high school and middle school in this county are currently earlier than those for the elementary schools. This gives buses and their drivers time to pick up middle and high school students, drop them off at their respective buildings, and then head off to pick up elementary school students.
The system in its current state certainly seems efficient. However, if middle and high school start times are altered so drastically, elementary, middle and high schools would all start around the same time.
Either more buses will be required to get all the students to school at the right time, or students from all three school levels might have to start riding the same buses. The former would be disastrous, causing terrible traffic and also creating the need for more gas, which is currently very expensive, bringing economic troubles for school districts. The latter is also not ideal, as there is no question that high and middle school students are more mature than their elementary school counterparts, possibly exposing elementary students to topics that, while appropriate for older students, are not ideal for them.
Many students who do not take the bus will also face problems. Those who drive themselves will face busier roads, possibly causing accidents. Students driven by parents may be forced to find other means of transportation, as later times would interfere with the schedules of working adults and prevent them from driving their children. Again, this could potentially create the need for more school buses, funding, and other complications.
In addition, there is always the possibility that pushing school start times back won’t even change the hours of sleep or health of teens. A later start time could very well tempt teens to stay up even later than they do with an earlier start time, meaning just as few hours of sleep, and bringing the same health and academic effects as with an earlier start time.
A later start time would also push extracurriculars to even later times. With Warren Hills’ current school start time, sport practices already go to at least 5 p.m. With the start time pushed to just under an hour later than the current time, extracurriculars could extend even past 6 p.m. This could severely impair students’ homework time, causing them to stay up into the later hours as described previously. Not to mention, being at school for longer hours could interfere with students ability to spend time with family and friends, possibly harming their social lives and mental health.
Although starting school later may appear to have many benefits, in reality, the negatives equal (if not outweigh) the positives.