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Parents, students make case for later HS start times in SLC

Jan 14, 2020, 8:53 AM | Updated: 10:12 am
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The principal of East High School is asking the community for help as they deal with a shortage of substitute teachers. (PHOTO: Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP)
(PHOTO: Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY– The Salt Lake Board of Education got a lot of strong opinions Monday night during their first meeting about later start times for high school.

Most students and parents who spoke were in favor of moving high schools to a later time. Currently, all three high schools in the city begin at 7:45 AM.

Sophomore Ronnie Stroud said she is usually late to class because it’s hard to wake up on time.

“Every single day is sheer hell getting them out of bed,” said one mom talking about her freshmen twins at West High School.

Another mom said even 10 or 15 minutes would make a difference.

“Children need more sleep and it’s hard for them to get that when I see the bus go by at 7 in the morning,” said another parent.

The Salt Lake School District surveyed parents and found 82% like the idea.

Doctors say overwhelming evidence shows teens would do better if they could sleep and start school later.

The big issue, though, is busing. Different options have high school starting at 8, 8:15 or 8:30, which would push middle and elementary schools to start as late as 9 AM.

There are also concerns about athletics and extracurricular activities going too late into the evening.

There are three more public meetings on the listening tour before the board holds a formal vote.

“Our goal is to listen to our parents, see where they’re leaning,” said board member Katherine Kennedy. “We do want to do what is best for our students.”

The next meeting is Thursday at Northwest Middle School at 6 pm.

A full schedule for their listening tour can be found on the Salt Lake City School District’s website.

 

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