It’s Too Early for This!

It’s Too Early for This!

Ashlyn Hoffmann, Staff Writer

Why does high school start so early? The time that school starts has been a controversial topic for a very long time. In Baltimore County, high schools start at 7:45 A.M. and get out at 2:30 P.M. 

When surveyed, 67% of Dulaney students said that 7:45 am is too early and would want it to start later. 27% of Dulaney students said that they liked the time school starts and wanted to keep it that way. The remaining 6% of students surveyed would like if school started a little bit earlier. 

There are multiple reasons that school starts so early, but one of the main reasons comes down to bus transportation. An article by Advanced Career Institute explains that many bus drivers have other jobs or just want quality downtime. The school district understands that by giving them an early route, they have the opportunity to get to a daytime job and/or have time to relax. The school district would lose a lot of money if school started later because it would be harder to find bus drivers and lack of interest would bring their wage up. Buses are also a main reason that high school starts the earliest out of the three. By having their start times slightly spaced out, buses are able to take a high school/middle school route and then go do an elementary route. Having the routes spaced out makes it so that all three levels of schooling can share a bus and driver so less buses are bought and less bus drivers are needed. 

Although buses play a big role in why high school starts so early and why it starts the earliest, they are not the only reason factoring into this. In fact, sports and other after-school activities lead to early start times. This reason isn’t so much about when it starts as it is when it ends. The school days need to legally have 6 hours and 45 minutes each in Baltimore County. In order to be able to have enough time for after-school activities along with the full school day, it is necessary that school starts when it does. 

Even with school starting when it does and letting out at 2:30 pm, a good amount of students still don’t have enough time in the day. For example, many students have after-school programs going two hours after school lets out, leaving these students to rush to get everything done including sports practice, homework and work shifts. Even starting as early as they do now, these students lack downtime which is shown to be very crucial in a teenager’s development. If school started any later, many extracurricular students wouldn’t have enough time to get everything done.

Even though students lack after school time, a very small percentage of students would actually want it to start earlier.  According to the survey, over half of the students surveyed don’t mind having less after school time and want school to start later. The reasoning behind wanting to start later comes mostly down to needing more sleep. Growing bodies rely on sleep as it helps with mental and physical growth along with survival. On top of this, studies have shown that students don’t perform well after first being woken up. If school started later, students would have the time to fully wake up before class and would therefore perform better. 

Although the majority of Dulaney students surveyed want to change the start time and are not happy with it starting at 7:45 am, many factors have led to why we start as early as we do and it is best to keep the start time when it is.