Arlington ISD Committee Pushes for Later School Start Times

High school students in Arlington have to be at school each morning by 7:35 a.m. – and for many of them, that means starting their day well before the sun comes up.

“That’s a hard thing,” said Ailyn Hernandez, a sophomore at Arlington High School. “To get up early in the morning, come to school and then try to stay on task.”

In a report released earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics found that 87 percent of high school students don’t get enough sleep each night, citing early school start times as a contributing factor.

“For teens to succeed, they’ve got to be well rested just like they need to be well fed,” said Debbie Moore.

Moore and her friend, Cheryl Till, are the parents of Arlington Independent School District high school students and members of a national advocacy group called “Start School Later.”

They both served on a committee the district formed in September to review its start times. Other parents, teachers and students were also asked to be part of the group.

After two months of meetings and discussions, they came to some conclusions.

“High school in the 7:00 hour does result in sleep-deprived teens,” said Moore. “The school district needs to move the start time until after 8 a.m.”

District administrators are now reviewing the committee’s input. If they feel any changes should be made to start times, they will put together a proposal and present it to the school board.

They say they also have to take other factors into account such as bus schedules, and students who work or look after younger siblings after school.

“I’m glad the conversation has started, that’s a positive,” said Till. “But now I’m wondering has the dialogue ended? Is this it?”

A district spokesperson acknowledged there’s no set timetable for any action to be taken, but said the committee’s input is valuable and will be strongly considered as those decisions are made.

Students NBC 5 spoke with hope it leads to later wakeup times.

“It would be great if they did [start school later],” said Ashley Flores, a sophomore at Arlington High School.

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