Shifting school start times not the answer

Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009

In my opinion, the basic premise upon which the Juneau School District administration is basing their proposal to shift school start times is fundamentally flawed. The high school kids that are zombies in the morning are zombies because they stay up until the wee hours of the morning, texting, Facebooking, mySpacing, playing video games and various other activities un-related to their hormonal sleep patterns.

And, if anybody tells me they know how the teenage brain functions, I'll laugh out loud. Teenagers don't even know why they do some of the things they do. They are the most spontaneous beings on Earth. They react compulsively and without much cognitive thought about what consequences their actions might bring.

Please understand that I'm speaking about teenagers, in general; there are many exceptional young people at our two high schools. My comments are not meant to diminish them in any way and in fact, I applaud those youth who can get beyond the world of 24-7 text messaging and mindless hours on Facebook or MySpace and the like.

The main problem as I see it is parents are allowing their high-school-age children to stay up late instead of collecting the cell phones and disabling the computers at a reasonable time on school nights. If that does not change they will continue to be zombies in the mornings, regardless of school start time.

Delaying school start times by one hour for the high schools, will just give them an extra hour at night to text, facebook and MySpace until parents resume parental control of their kids. Maybe we should give students even more extra time by starting high school at noon.

Kerry Lindley


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