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Triton Voice

The Student News Site of Triton High School

Triton Voice

The Student News Site of Triton High School

Triton Voice

Tradeoffs Abound with School Start Time Dilemma

Finding that “Just Right” Time for First Bell
Schmuch photo
Sleep deprived Triton seniors, Mitchell Wolpert and Nathaniel Schmuch rest in class.

Most Triton students wake up at 6 a.m., to catch a bus that comes around 6:45, to get to school by 7:20, for first period that starts at 7:42. Aside from the general unhappiness about it, did you know that this routine is genuinely unhealthy for teenagers?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, when teens go through puberty, their internal clock shifts and they start to get tired later at night, of course causing them to stay up later. Since the schools start so early, they’re getting less sleep every day. 

That loss of sleep can lead to a risk of being overweight, developing depression (which will negatively affect them even more), performing poorly in school, and can even lead to unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and vaping- which are all things schools strongly advise against.

Of course, adjusting the start times wouldn’t be an easy change. This would cost Triton a lot of money, and would take a lot of effort. Along with this, the elementary schools would need to change too. And, the part that everyone hates to hear- we would get out of school later. Overall, if this were to be something the TRSD looked into, it would take years to go into effect.

Ten Triton students were asked about school start times, if they’re too early and if they should be pushed back. 7 of these students agreed that it’s too early for them, and that they’d feel better if it ended up being pushed back.

Raven O’Malley, a student from Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in Hicksville, New York, also disagrees with the school starting time- proving that this is an issue, and at that, a worldwide one. Over at Holy Trinity Diocesan, doors open at 7:15 and homeroom starts at 7:50.

“It’s too early,” O’Malley says, “As well as when they have activities that go late, and then homework that takes a few hours a night.”

O’Malley also said that these start times do, in fact, affect their mental and academic preformance, saying that they’re absolutely exhausted, leading to the inability to focus, which then leads to poor grades and academic performances. 

Triton’s own Assistant Principal Mr. Joe Celia explained that he is all for the start times being pushed back. He expressed that he’s seen the studies that have been done on teens 14-18, and believes that it would be for the better if Triton were to push back the start time.

“If we could probably get our students another hour of sleep at night, I think we would see academic achievement go up, and I think we would also see students have a healthier mental health space,” said Celia. He shared that the Triton community would be open to looking into any issue that is brought up to them. 

On the other hand, Matthew Jackling, Triton’s new wellness coordinator, explained his mixed feelings on this topic. He stated that at the school he worked at before Triton, they started school later. Though it seemed to be better for the student’s mental health, it did cause some childcare issues. 

“A lot of students have to watch their siblings, and the younger siblings were getting out much earlier,” he said, “Elementary was still starting around 7:45. So, a lot of those students who had to watch, like, their younger brother, their younger brother was now getting out before them.”

He continued to say the later start times would make sense in how our bodies work, but there are some trade-offs that just wouldn’t quite be worth it.

It’s hard to be strongly on one side or the other on this topic; everyone seems to have a different opinion. There are a lot of factors on both sides showing why it is or isn’t a good idea. After considering all of this, the question Triton  should begin asking itself is would changing the time from 7:42 really be worth it?

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