The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Codey’s Stance on High School Start Time

Jordan Broking, Managing Editor

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — State Senator Richard Codey has made his stance clear on high school start times.

In an Op-Ed he wrote to NJ.com, Richard Codey believes that high schools across New Jersey should start later than how they already do. Codey states many reasons as to why he believes this, with the first pointing towards teenagers’ health and overall wellness.

“Our adolescents are not living up to their full potential,” Codey states, “… it is time that New Jersey makes a change.”

Codey addresses medical experts’ studies on teenagers and sleeps, which state that teens need 9 hours of sleep per night. He comments on how it is difficult for teenagers to wake up before 8:00 every morning for school not for being lazy, but their bodies want to stay asleep. In addition to this, he also uses medical experts’ beliefs on how school districts are setting up their clocks the wrong way.

“High schools and middle schools start too early,” comments the Senator, “while elementary and pre-k programs are starting to late.” If laws are enacted in the future, this means that high schools and middle schools would start school later than elementary schools.

Senator Codey has proposed legislation that would study the effects of starting school later, with 5 districts in the state starting school later than 8:30am. Data from the study would then be used to see how effective an implemented change would bring to students, teachers, and bus schedules throughout the state.

In West Orange, the high school begins school at 7:30 and ends at 2:15. All three middle schools begin at 8:10 and end at 2:53, while every elementary schools start at 8:50 and end at 3:23. Some of West Orange High School (WOHS) students take the bus every morning, needing to be at the buses around 6:30 and 6:45. For these students to wake up and prepare for the school day, they would need to be awake earlier than these times.

The Pioneer sent a form out to the WOHS student body asking for their opinions if the schools should start at a later time. As of press time, 360 students responded to the form with 73.3% agreeing with Sen. Codey that school should start later. Most answers corresponded to the fact that many believe a later school start time would allow students to rest longer, which in turn would be beneficial for their overall academic performance. One anonymous response stated, “As a student athlete, we deserve to have rest and sleep and it’s not fair that we have to come home late after practice, do homework till 11:00pm and then go to sleep for like 5 hours (not even) and come back to school the next day. It would be beneficial for us to get a good night’s rest and be able to have a lot of energy for the next day.”

The other 26.7% of those who answered the form disagreed with Codey, citing their concerns for later school ending times. “It would end later, pushing extra circular [sic] activities go 6-7pm which is insanely late, or after school activities would be shortened, which is worse” stated another student. An additional student also disagreed with the proposed start time that would be in effect if Codey’s legislation was passed, saying, “I believe that school should start later than it already does, but 8:30 is not a realistic time. School should start between 8:00 and 8:15 just like the middle schools. There are other schools within the area that start around that time and get out about the same time as the middle schools in West Orange. Starting school at this time will not create a conflict with sports and afterschool activities. Additionally by starting school around that time, students and teachers will still be able to get more hours of sleep. Starting school at this time will most likely improve the performance of many students and enable students to be more alert.”

Nothing else has been said on this proposed legislation since Sen. Codey made his announcement.

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