The Debate for School Start Times

By Jena Borlik & Mikayla Prettyman

All Howard County Schools open at 7:25 every morning. Many Howard County students struggle with waking up this early five times a week for a whole school year. There has been much debate as to whether or not the start time of our schools should be set to a later time with the purpose to give students more time to get more sleep. There are many pros and cons to a later school start time and, according to Hammond High students, the pros outweigh the cons.

“In the mornings, I’m really tired and I don’t usually like learning that early in the day,” says sophomore Jack Buzard. Jack is very involved in our school’s theater program. He participates in chamber choir, the fall play, the spring musical, and our Dramastics improv team. Even with his after school rehearsals, he still says that he would like to sleep in later, knowing that his rehearsals would be ran later in the day.

Senior Maddie Cheney wakes up at 5:50 every morning to head to work before school.  “I wish school started later so that I would get more time to sleep,” she explains to The Bear Press. Laura van Hasselt, a sophomore, is more concerned about her lack of sleep and how it affects her grades. She says, “I have an extremely difficult class first period. I compare my test scores with people who have the same class later in the day and I seem to do much worse than them.” Laura worries about the effects of the typical lack of sleep of High School students, “Usually throughout my day, I just feel like I really want to go home and I don’t that’s something that students should feel.” Laura is a competitive equestrian outside of school and her practices also sometimes run into the time she has to do homework after school.

Taylor Smith, another Hammond sophomore, is involved in lacrosse and choir and has the same type of problems as van Hasselt. “In first period, I’m usually falling asleep or staring into space,” she says. She believes that she and her fellow students are alike in their struggles,“I think I’m like most people because most people are just exhausted during the school day.” There seems to be a common theme among the opinions of Hammond students in that they all seem to relate their mood and how much sleep they get. “If I’m not well rested, I’m miserable for most of the day,” says Taylor.

Although plenty of Hammond students feel the delayed start time would be beneficial, some feel it would only cause problems. “That’s a terrible idea because then you have no time at the end of the day and if you play any sports your practices and your games will end really late,” says Cheyenne Monthé, sophomore at Hammond High School. A lot of students feel this time change would really interfere with after school activities such as sports and theater. “It would give me less time to do anything,” says Monthé.

Rhea Bradley, a sophomore at Hammond High School, is involved in several after school activities such as Dramastics and Marching Band. She also believes this could cause problems saying that school opening later may affect her outside of school activities and then she may subsequently not have enough time for homework.

Will students actually take advantage of the later start time? Mr. Reagle, boys lacrosse and girls soccer coach, does not buy it. “Talk to any kid, if you know you’re having a two hour delay are you going to bed at ten? No, you’re probably staying up later,” says Reagle, “you’re not getting more sleep, you’re just changing your sleep pattern.”

Reagle also believes that it would cause outside problems that would put students in danger, “That becomes a safety issue for the kids, so if you usually walk to school, now you’re walking home at seven o’clock, maybe walking home through rush hour…there are a lot more safety hazards leaving at seven then leaving at three.”


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