Briggs: Delay school start times

KING OF PRUSSIA, Sept. 8 – As the new school year gets under way, state Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, is urging his colleagues in the General Assembly to seriously consider his legislation that would study the effects of a later start time to the school day for high school students in Pennsylvania. 

"Teens don’t get as much sleep as they should. While this is nothing new, and in fact science suggests their changing bodies are at least partly responsible, we should be doing everything in our power to allow them to get the 8½ - 9½ hours of sleep they need to be properly rested," Briggs said.

House Bill 2105 would direct the state Department of Education to study the benefits and any potential negative impacts associated with a later start time for Pennsylvania’s secondary schools.

"A later start time to the school day may be exactly what our students need, but to ensure there are no unintended consequences my legislation would not implement the change, just study it," Briggs said. "The extremely early school start times we see throughout the state may be a serious issue for our students' health and well-being. I know most parents wouldn’t accept a dangerous or unhealthy schooling-environment for their children and we need to start considering how start times factor into that." 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from physical and mental health problems including obesity, are at an increased risk of being involved in an automobile accident and are more likely to decline in academic performance.

Briggs said he was grateful to a concerned group of parents of Lower Merion School District students, who have been encouraging the Lower Merion Board of School Directors to consider delaying the start time for local high schools.