BY DILAN PATEL
Following California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent veto of Bill 328, a bill that would require schools to push start times to at least 8:30, a group of CUSD parents have started a petition to the school district that presents research which supports their conclusion that students need more sleep in order to perform well in school and maintain their mental health.
Brown explains that the decision is up to communities, and the state cannot force schools to change their start times.
Holly Temple, a mother of two students at Carmel Middle School and one of the parents to start the petition, believes this change is long overdue and wants to spread the word.
Temple says a solution to this would be changing the school starting time to 8:30 or later.
Since the start of the petition on Change.org four weeks ago, over 400 people in the school district have signed it. The petition cites research coming from numerous sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.
“While implementing a delayed school start time can be an emotional and potentially stressful issue for school districts, families and members of the community, the health benefits for adolescents far outweigh any potential negative consequences,” states the American Medical Association board member William E. Kobler, M.D., on the American Medical Association website.
Temple has first-hand experience when it comes to the struggles of waking up in the morning.
“We have children struggling to get up and then struggling to get their homework done,” Temple says. “We have all been aware of the overwhelming science behind the early start time.”
Along with Victoria Miller, Molly Hirschfield, Robin Mayer, Amy Williams Melton, Julie Walton and Nicole LeMaster, Temple started the petition after seeing how her own children and others were doing. They hope to see how the community reacts to the idea.
“I wanted to start a petition to gauge the level of support in the community,” Temple says. “I would love to get a thousand signatures.”
Based on the amount of support the petition gains, Temple has plans to present it to the newly elected school board on Nov. 14. This would allow the issue to be put on the agenda and get a response from the board.
“The extra 45 minutes makes a huge difference in everybody’s ability to perform,” CHS parent Boryana Griffin says.
For example, students who live in Big Sur or Cachagua would no longer have to wake up as early as four or five in the morning to get to school. Instead, they would be able to wake up at six and still be able to get to school on time.
The school start time debate reaches further than Carmel High. One psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, Amy Morin, explains that there are still some cons of a later school start time. On Verywell Family, she writes that changing the start time has effects on after-school sports. If school is pushed back an hour later, it means that after-school activities start later and students could get home later in the evening.
In the past in CUSD, there has not been a distinct plan in order to make a change in start time, so Temple hopes that through the petition and the support of the parents and the community, the start time will change to 8:30 or later.