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A later start for high schools is idea worth consideration [Editorial]

Parents of high school students know the struggle — getting their teens out of bed to catch that early morning bus or carpool.

Between homework, sports, jobs and an increasingly active social life, high schoolers find themselves burning the candle at both ends, getting to bed late and then up early to make the 7:25 bell for first period. Studies have shown that the average high school student gets only about five or six hours of sleep on a school night. And a tired student isn't likely to be a motivated student, not to mention a healthy one, as other studies have suggested.

For the past couple of years, groups have debated the idea of delaying the start of the high school day until after 8 a.m. And on the face of it, the idea has merit. But the logistics to make something like this happen aren't easy to pull off. Bus schedules, athletics and student jobs are just some of the impediments in the way.

Still, this isn't stopping the school system and an independent group of parents from looking into the issue. Last February, Howard County schools announced it would study start times for schools and, should there be any feasibility to the idea, would discuss further with the school community sometime in 2014. At the same time, a group called Start School Later in Howard County is trying to organize support to change start times. Ironically, the group's first meeting of the year is at 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 17 at 10630 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 209, in Columbia.

Other jurisdictions, including Alexandria City and Arlington County in Virginia have already made the switch. And while we recognize the likelihood that a change isn't going to be easy, the idea that this is getting some serious consideration is reassuring, especially to parents of future high school students.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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