Permanent Late Start


Ashley Jennings, Staff Writer

Do you ever just want to hit snooze when your alarm starts ringing at 6 am? Do you ever just contemplate sleeping in and missing first period? Well that seems to be a dilemma most adolescents in high school have to deal with. Of course there are measures you can take to get a good night’s sleep so you can get up with your alarm in the morning, but when it comes down to it young adolescents need more sleep. Could late start be the answer to this common dilemma?

Recently there has been a survey sent out to parents of students here at Lake City asking parents how they feel about a permanent late start time. This email was sent out by one of Lake City’s teachers, Lucas Fitzpatrick, who teaches World History and Psychology 1 & 2. Mr. Fitzpatrick has been trying to call attention to the importance of sleep for adolescents for quite some time and now people are starting to become aware of its importance as well. Even though no schools in the state of Idaho have adopted late start, many schools have begun to collect data and research on the topic and have taken note on the numerous benefits. When interviewing Mr. Fitzpatrick he mentioned some of these benefits being some of the following, “out performance of traditional schools in terms of standardized testing, lower reports of disciplinary issues, and much improved attendance.”

Not only does late start have a positive impact on the functioning of schools but it also has a positive impact on adolescents health. While interviewing Mr. Fitzpatrick he said, “Adolescents are physically awake (at 6am) but their brains are still coming out of the sleep cycle making effective learning and retention not feasible.” So really teenagers are not fully awake until 9-10 am. After talking to Mr. Fitzpatrick I also learned that not only are the brains of adolescents not fully functioning at 6 am, there can also be problems in the brain where too much or not enough hormones are released causing students to eat too much or not enough, leading to health problems.

So with all the problems that occur with waking up at 6 am, maybe late start is worth the discussion. So maybe next time you wake up exhausted and feel the urge to hit the snooze, start this conversation with your parents.