Earlier start times for Clark County high school students | LETTER

Earlier start times for Clark County high school students | LETTER

Since January, I have heard people say that Clark County School District’s decision on adjusting school times will benefit everyone, helping us solve the bus driver shortage.

What district officials fail to acknowledge, however, is that going to sleep and waking up early is a challenge for students in Clark County and around the world. On this particular issue, adults and parents tend to label students as “imprudent” and “lazy” — except they choose to ignore the sleeping patterns of teenagers.

Dr. Bert Mandelbaum of the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles argues that, after childhood, the adolescent brain experiences a shift in melatonin release, which makes it difficult to fall asleep before 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends eight to 10 hours of sleep a night for the corresponding adolescent brain for good health. Why do officials at the nation’s fifth-largest school district that serves 37 high schools think rolling back school start times will have an actual effect on a short-term bus driver shortage?

Imagine the classrooms filled with slowly thinking and poorly concentrating students trying to learn the material before 7 a.m. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proposes that high schools do not start before 8:30 a.m. I hope this change will be temporary and not long term.