by Jamie Blough
Every high school student knows the torture of sleeping through a 6:30 AM alarm and waking up an hour later to your carpool driver’s “here” text. A 20 minute drive, 15 minute search for parking, and ten minute walk to class leaves you in your seat when the bell rings at 8:15, groggy, irritated, and unmotivated.
In order to prevent situations like this one, California is currently working to pass a bill that adds an extra 15 minutes to the morning routine of middle and high school students across the state. Introduced by State Senator Anthony Portantino, SB-328 requires schools to begin classes no earlier than 8:30 in the morning. The bill is currently passing through the assembly and should be in effect by July 1, 2020.
When he initially crafted the bill, Portantino listed a myriad of benefits, including a decrease in teen depression, failing grades, drug use, and car accidents. In addition, studies show that teenagers and adults sleep in intervals of 90 minutes. Therefore, by introducing an 8:30 start time, students will be able to perfect their sleep schedules into factors of 90.
However, state senator Jim Nielsen argues that the bill will cause inconvenience for parents who work in the morning. In an interview with the NY Times, he expresses his concerns, saying, “I just don’t see it being worth the disruption of the lives of our children and of the parents, particularly, to try to manage those children.”
Although many LGHS students agree with the movement, the bill has had trouble in the California Senate because of its potential repercussions. Insomnia researcher Dr. Campbell argues that it would be more effective and reasonable to limit teenagers’ exposure to artificial light from cell phones and tablets at night. The light from our devices affects our eyesight and shifts our sleep schedules, especially when in use at nighttime. Despite this, the bill has gotten enough support to pass by the year 2020.
LGHS student Sami Elizondo says “I am super excited for the bill to pass and I can’t wait for the extra 15 minutes of sleep in the morning, but I’m kinda disappointed that it probably won’t start until our class graduates.” As for administration, teachers are also eager for the bill to be put into effect and hope it improves student performance.
(Sources NY Times, LA CBS)