Lee County student pushes for later school start times

Staying up late and getting up early don’t add up to healthy habits for learning in the classroom. Yet, that’s life for most high school students.

However, one student wants to reset the clock on school start times for teens.

Twelve-year-old Lauren Rubel is ahead of the game. She’s already planning for her jump to high school in a few years. But she worries it might be harder for her and her classmates to learn if she’s forced to wake up so early.

“Adolescents have different sleep patterns than adults and children,” she said.

Lee County high schools start class at 7:05—a time Lauren’s dad even disagrees with.

“7:05 is extremely early for high school students to get there,” he said. “They’re on the roads at 6:30 in the morning which I think increases the risk of having accidents.”

Tuesday night Lauren made her case to members of the school board backed by research from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine citing only 23 percent of students get a full eight hours of sleep on school nights.

Most can’t fall asleep before 11 p.m.

And less sleep is linked to poor performance, higher risk for depression and obesity.

But some school leaders say it’s the name of the game, citing after-school activities like sports and jobs they have to contend with at a staggering cost.

“We’d have to add 1,500 buses at a cost of $150 million in capital. We just don’t have the money,” one leader said.

But Lauren says she’s not giving up.

“I know it may not be changed now, but maybe when I’m 20 it’ll be changed and at least other people will be able to sleep more,” she said.

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