California becomes first state to implement late start time in schools

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California becomes first state to implement late start time in schools

California's new late start law would require most schools across the state to start later beginning in 2022.

California's new late start law would require most schools across the state to start later beginning in 2022.

Mahali Sanchez

California's new late start law would require most schools across the state to start later beginning in 2022.

Mahali Sanchez

Mahali Sanchez

California's new late start law would require most schools across the state to start later beginning in 2022.

By Valeria Luquin, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School

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A new law passed by Gov. Gavin Newsom regarding a later start time in middle and high schools has created mixed opinions among students and staff. 

“I think it’s a great idea. I think it’s going to be very beneficial for attendance purposes,” Spanish teacher Marta Rodriguez said. “I think it’s worth at least giving it a try and I do think it will make a difference.”

On Oct. 13, Newsom signed the law into legislation making California the first state to make the new start time a requirement. Some middle schools will be obligated to start at 8 a.m. or later while some high schools will be obligated to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. 

Classes originally offered before school will be allowed to start before 8 or 8:30 a.m. Rural schools will be exempted from this law. By July 1, 2022, this new law will be implemented and phased in for the 2022-2023 school year.

California schools would not be the first ones to abide to a late start law. In Tampa, Florida, a similar law was implemented two years ago. Marin Fehl, a senior and editor-in-chief for the Hillsborough High School newspaper, is no stranger to having a later school start tie.

“I know when it was first proposed, a lot of people thought it was stupid,” Fehl said. “But now that we have it, and we’ve had it for two years, I don’t know anyone who would want to switch back.” 

With the desire to give teens the chance to get more sleep, they hope this may lead to an improvement in their academic performance. Improvement in attendance and a reduction of tardiness is something this law also wants to achieve. 

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teenagers get eight to 10 hours of sleep, yet some students don’t agree. They don’t think they will benefit from this new law or gain more sleep. 

“I honestly don’t really see the point. It’s going to be the same amount of time and the same amount of sleep,” junior Amelia Sanchez said. “(water polo) practice is just gonna go later and then people will be staying up later. It’s just a whole pattern.”

Those against the new law bring up notable challenges and obstacles. Students who get dropped off early in the morning due to a parent having to get to work early will be affected. Students participating in sports, extracurricular activities or who work after school will potentially run into problems as well. 

“There’s a lot of kids who are dropped off very early,” Principal Pia Damonte said. “I get here at like seven and there’s already at least like 20 to 30 kids waiting in the front, which tells me they got dropped off a lot earlier than I did because parents have to go to work. I think it’s going to be a struggle, that’s for sure. It’s going to be interesting.”

This story was originally published on The Pearl Post on November 4, 2019.