Start School Later Anne Arundel County MD
In September 2017, Anne Arundel County's 12 public high schools shifted start times to 7:30 a.m. The high schools haven't started this "late" since 1986.
Students in our county need to be at bus stops as early as 5:38 a.m. for magnet buses and 6:13 a.m. for regular high school buses. It hasn't always been this way. Until the mid 1970s, the start time for most schools in our county and elsewhere was well after 8 a.m. Local parents have been working to change our predawn school day starts since the late 1990s.
In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that early school start times are contrary to the biologically-driven sleep patterns of adolescence, which requires a full 8 to 10 hours of sleep and naturally results in teenagers falling asleep later at night (typically not until 11 p.m. or after).
Data from the 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Anne Arundel shows that a mere 21% of high school students are getting 8 hours of sleep on a school night, down from 59% of middle school students.
The chronic sleep deprivation experienced by teens often results in physical and mental health problems, problem behaviors and declining grades. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no middle or high school begin before 8:30 a.m. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control echoes that recommendation, as does the American Medical Association and many other public health groups.
The Maryland of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland State Department of Education issued a joint report recommending that school systems evaluate the feasibility of school starting after 8 a.m.
Implementing the school start time change our children need can be achieved only by the Board of Education. Because of that, parents, educators, healthcare providers, students and elected officials need to both educate their peers and become advocates for school hours that are safe and healthy for all K-12 students.