Harford County schools have morning times all wrong



Teenagers' health and education is being destroyed due to school morning times. Doctors and parents are alarmed and worried for these kids' well-being.

“I feel fully awake around last period,” says a realistic Kassie Cucchiella (9). Students in Harford County Public Schools must rush out of the door in the morning feeling sleep deprived, then fight the urge to fall asleep during the school day. This could be solved by simply pushing back morning start  times for high school.

According to website theconversation.com, the adolescent body does not begin to feel sleepy until about 10:45 p.m. Melatonin is the chemical in the body that produces the sleep hormones. These hormones are secreted naturally  around 10:45 p.m and don’t stop until around 8 a.m. The body is designed to only fall asleep and wake up at these specific times. Having an adolescent go to bed earlier is not as easy as it seems. Kassie Cucchiella (9), states, “I wake up at 5:00 a.m, and I go to bed around 11:30 p.m.” Due to the stress of school work, a surplus of homework, sports, and other extracurricular activities, students like Kassie are not getting enough hours of proper sleep.

Not only do early start times conflict with the construction of the sleep cycle, it is known to have drastic effects on students’ mental and physical health. The Huffington Post says that waking up so early causes students to be at a higher risk of depression, fatigue, stress, and more. Since school times are so early, kids aren’t receiving the recommended eight or more hours of sleep. These schedules are damaging students’ abilities to maintain and process information and are harming their natural sleep cycle. The early times are turning school into a negative atmosphere by causing students to unintentionally fall back in academics. The Children’s National Medical Center discovered that pushing back school times to more appropriate hours resulted in better performance and better periods of sleep.

A completed study showed that in over 9,000 students in states such as Wyoming, Colorado, and Minnesota, setting back high school start times to around 8:30 a.m, showed a boost in test grades, attendance, and overall scores in subjects like Math, Science, English, and Social Studies. Some states also found decreases in teenage car crashes, as being more rested meant student drivers were more alert and focused when behind the wheel. Many parents have concerns about time changes affecting their work schedules and their children’s sports, but these inconveniences are a small price to pay for the health and academic success of their children.

We should inform our school leaders to consider changing to a later high school start time in order to improve the well-being of the students at Patterson Mill High School. Early start times are detrimental to both the health and education of teenagers. To restore students’ health, we recommend statewide schools to push back school start times.