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Readers Respond

Early morning school hours put city students at serious risk | READER COMMENTARY

An aerial view of Baltimore City College High School. File. (Ryan Levy/Inherent Collective).

Recently, The Baltimore Sun ran a letter to the editor about the bell schedule at Baltimore City Public Schools. In the letter, Lisa VanBuskirk explained why the system needs to have schools start later in the day (”Baltimore needs later school hours,” June 16). She highlighted the transportation needs of middle and high school students, explaining how having schools start as early as 7:30 a.m. is only going to make it harder for students who rely on mass transit to get to classes on time. I agree strongly, and I want to add from my perspective.

I am a student at Baltimore City College High School. This previous school year, the start time was 7:45 a.m. Even that was too early, and there were constantly students falling asleep in class. There was almost always at least one student in all of my classes who was asleep. I actually fell asleep in class several times, causing me to miss out on important instruction. Teenagers need 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night, and due to our circadian rhythms, it is very difficult for us to fall asleep before 11 p.m.

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With start times being so early, it is impossible for us to get the amount of sleep necessary, and students will continue to fall asleep in class. Furthermore, not getting enough sleep is detrimental to a person’s mental health. Someone who gets poor sleep will be more likely to react negatively to stressors and will not have as many positive emotions. Also, not enough sleep contributes to depression and anxiety, and in extreme cases suicidal thoughts.

By moving start times earlier and forcing us to wake up earlier, the city school system is blatantly disregarding our mental health. Of course, the needs of yellow bus kids are important, but the mental health of students is imperative and needs to be addressed.

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— Madeline Lundquist, Baltimore

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.


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