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Petition Opposes Start-Time Change

Elizabeth Henderson is heading a group of Barrington parents that opposes changing the school start times for all students; she is asking for your support by signing an online petition.

A group of about 20 Barrington families have launched a petition against changing school start times. Click here to see the petition.

Eizabeth Henderson, the mother of a second-grader at Primrose Hill School and a kindergarten pupil next fall, wrote and posted the petition on GoPetition.com two days ago on behalf of the 20 families. She is asking other families who oppose the change in school start times to sign it.

Barrington is considering changing start times to help boost the achievement of high school and middle school teens. Later starting times are believed to benefit teens dealing with sleep deprivation, which research indicates has a negative impact on academic and athletic performance.

Henderson believes "there are other ways" to get teens more sleep -- ways that may be even more effective without having an impact on every student in the Barrington schools. Parents are the key, she said.

"Parents need to take more responsibility," she said. "It's not the schools' job to get kids more sleep."

Henderson also questions whether changing the start time for teens might just be shifting sleep-deprivation to younger children.

"Is there any research on kids ages 6 to 11? "she said. "I think we need to see more research on younger kids."

Henderson said she got the idea for the petition after attending the recent community forum on school start times in the high school.

"I got concerned that it was just a dog-and-pony show," she said, "that the decision is already made."

The petition lists five specific reasons why the parents believe changing the school start times will actually have a negative impact on students.

It also lists other ways to handle sleep deprivation, such as managing children's activities, setting up consistent bed and wake times, keeping them away from caffeine and energy drinks, engaging them in stimulating activities during the early afternoon slump time, and creating downtimes before bedtime so teens can fall asleep easier.

Teens also need to be taught to cope with a world that is 24/7, according to the petition. Having consistent routines and managing extracurricular activities is a better way to help teens cope, grow and succeed, the petition states.

You can sign the petition until the end of April, Henderson said. It does require you to give your name and email address. You can make comments as well.

Henderson plans to download the results of the petition and present it to the School Committee in May.

me February 10, 2012 at 04:54 PM
DC, what??? What does this have to do with a car seat. Firstly, its the law and secondly I don't want my daughter flying through the windshield on impact. And no, I am in no way all about natural consequences. All I am saying is IF YOU ARE TIRED IN THE MORNING GO TO BED EARLIER!!!!! All this nonsense about science and statistics is stupid. So how about this, I'm going to tell my boss the company should open an hour later because science says I need more sleep. Every keeps saying these kids are to tired to learn. OK, but what about the past graduating classes, they did it. Its this enabling philosophy I cant stand.
Michael Smith February 10, 2012 at 05:11 PM
When I was their age, we walked 10 miles to school, uphill both ways, backwards! And we liked it! :-) Seriously though, here’s the science: * Delaying School Starting Time by One Hour: Some Effects on Attention Levels in Adolescents, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Vol. 7 (2011) * Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood & Behavior, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 164 (2010) * Impact of School Daily Schedule on Adolescent Sleep, Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Vol. 115 (2005) * Middle School Start Times: The Importance of a Good Night's Sleep for Young Adolescents, Behavioral Sleep Medicine, Vol. 5 (2007) * Adolescent Sleep, School Start Times & Teen Motor Vehicle Crashes, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Vol. 4 (2008) * Sleep Schedules & Daytime Functioning in Adolescents, Journal of Child Development, Vol. 69 (1998) * Influence of Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration & Sleepiness on School Performance in Children & Adolescents, Sleep Medicine Reviews, Vol. 14, pp 179-189 (2010), (reviewing 16 studies with sample sizes of up to 3,900 & ages as young as 8) * Understanding Adolescents' Sleep Patterns & School Performance, Sleep Medicine Reviews, Vol. 7 (2003) (reviewing 14 studies with sample sizes of up to 18,000 & as young as 8)
Michael Smith February 10, 2012 at 05:12 PM
(In case it wasn't clear, all those studies support later school start times.)
Michael Smith February 10, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Yeah, what do science and facts have to do with anything? Bah humbug! Steven Colbert called it "truthiness": "a 'truth' that a person claims to know intuitively 'from the gut' or because it 'feels right' without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts." Question for you, me: did you ever go to school yourself? Cut science class? Just wondering. (Actually, I suspect you're "trolling," saying inflamatory things just to stir things up.)
Just A Thought February 10, 2012 at 05:31 PM
higher school rankings in town = more justification for the already ridiculously high tax rate.
me February 10, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Do any of those studies say what happens if you go to bed earlier and get more sleep? You all want to quote these articles and books but none of you will address just getting to bed so you can focus at school.
me February 10, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Do any of those studies say what happens if you go to bed earlier and get more sleep? You all want to quote these articles and books but none of you will address just getting to bed so you can focus at school.
DC February 10, 2012 at 06:09 PM
me: Why is the use of a car seat is a law?.... Facts, evidence, science, petitions, bills, legislature...all gave way to protecting daughters and the populous. People who rely solely their own perspectives and experiences to form an attitude lose debates. People who have evidentiary support win debates. Not the kind of debate on TV…the kind that scores arguments pro and con and weights the credibility of the evidence and support. Show us the evidence that doing things the way we always do it is the best solution. Provide a fact that reports less sleep is good for teens, that sitting at a bus stop in the dark at 6:30 is safe, that being sleep deprived is good for the learning brain, that teens can be put to bed at 9:30 and naturally fall asleep...THEN you have an argument. Credibility wise, you have NO argument, simply passion. Take that passion to find the evidence that supports your claim. Research….that is what I do BEFORE I form my arguments. That is why I am comfortable proposing change. CREDIBLY comfortable.
DC February 10, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Your debate coach would be so proud.
Bruce February 10, 2012 at 06:11 PM
DC. How about parents that work? Now they have to rearrange their schedules, nannies, day schools, appointments, etc. I say stop the teens from using the internet late into the night and start sleeping instead. This is the tail wagging the dog. What a joke.
Bruce February 10, 2012 at 06:16 PM
PS. What do they do in countries like Norway where they have long days and long nights? Does the scientific community have info on how these countries deal with their teens? This just makes me laugh. We wouldn't want to hurt anyones FEELINGS by making kids go to bed on time or get up early. Those poor, poor teenagers. Man up already and grow a pair! This is why America is full of soft sorry people.
Jack Baillargeron February 10, 2012 at 06:30 PM
DC. Another thought on this, is the fact that a teacher in their first class tells the students that homework is due the next day, and that there will be a quiz or test on that howework after it is turned in. No study, no change in hours will change a student from having the self responsibily I believe it is called ;-}, from being prepared for that test and be bright eyed and bushy tailed for that test. It still starts at home, no matter what the hours are or the studies say, bottom line is it is the students responsibilty, and parents to teach that at home from an early age. If they do not, then nothing will change. This is the problem with these studies, they never tell the real truth of the root cause of the problem, they are talking about. Which obviously, is not that they do not get enough sleep, but that they have to have the pride, integrity and willpower to accomplish the task put before them. That is what the Founders and most religions meant by FREEWILL l (you are responsible for yor own actions). There is no way to change with the fact that humans genetic's are diverse and cannot be taught to all be the same or to perform exactly alike. Many a tolitarian society has tried and failed at it as history has shown. Enviroment, experience and peers or mentors, determine work ethic, not sleep, food, or government mandates. Children are uniques as are their learning curves. just saying ;-}
DC February 10, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Did you read any of the studies posted above? Do you FULLY understand REM, circadian rhythms, melatonin? YES the evidence is that putting teens to bed early does not force them to SLEEP. I do not expect to see cicadas this year because biology has proven their cycles. Biological (saliva studies of all things) and observational studies concur that teens do not fall asleep or experience the needed REM simply by putting teens to bed earlier. Their sleep cylces are UNIQUE to adoloscence..you remember being a teen?, zits, hormones, moodiness...TEENS? Do you honestly believe that if this could be FIXED by putting teens to bed earlier there would be a 15+ year discussion and an emerging trend of schools- particularly schools where parents and administrators are highly abled- shifting to later start times if putting teens to bed earlier is the solution? It is insulting that you would think we did not entertain the "simple" solution before suggesting a change to start times. Of course it was entertained. It is incredibly ineffective. What is effective is delaying start times..which have little impact on anyone. Many private high schools start past 8:00...as do many high schools. The petition at startschoollater.net is there for the schools that DON'T have the appropriate starting time. MANY school systems already have the timing right; but many do not and it takes time and energy (of which I have exhausted plenty today) to change one school system at a time.
Bruce February 10, 2012 at 07:01 PM
I believe that teens (adults in training) need to learn to cope with these "unsurmountable" road blocks to their sleeping. Just as their parents did and their parents before them. If they learn to get up later it will only perpetuate itself and you will find that they need to get up even later! Maybe with enough cycles of this ridiculousness, we'll be back to the normal waking hour we've all grown to love! ; ) Long live the Nanny State!
DC February 10, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Bruce, The arguments support sleep deprivation is detrimental to everyone- in this case, especially in teens. However with your argument in mind, explain the dependence of ADULTS on Tylenol PM, Ambien and the like. People KNOW they need sleep. Teens know it too, which is why they do DO NOT wake naturally at 5:45 am. to catch the 6:30 bus. Is it possible you like the feeling of "hazing" the pledges because the actives went through it? Is that the framework and the limits of your logic?
DC February 10, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Jack, When you can legislate "pride, integrity and willpower to accomplish the task put before them. That is what the Founders and most religions meant by FREEWILL l (you are responsible for yor own actions" I will wholeheartedly support your petition. However in the meantime, I am doing my incremental best to provide students with the tools/fuel to attempt to do just as you describe.
me February 10, 2012 at 07:26 PM
DC no offense but I think you are more impressed with all your quotes than I am. If these studies are true how do you explain how the generations of kids who have been doing well up until now? All of a sudden because some people decide their kids are groggy in the morning the whole town's school structure has to change. Anyone can do a study about anything to get the results to support anything. You want to live life by studies but I choose to live in reality.
DC February 10, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Quoting me: "Anyone can do a study about anything to get the results to support anything." "You want to live life by studies but I choose to live in reality." I rest my case.
Michael Smith February 10, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Wah, wah, the nanny state. You sound like adolescents: "you're not the boss of me!" Grow up. This isn't the government telling you or anyone what to do; it's the gov't running an operation, to provide us with a service, and US telling THEM how we want them to do it. Actually, it IS the gov't telling us what to do: telling us our kids have to be there at a time that's been found over and over to be unhealthy, and if we don't like it, tough ****. You ought to be angry about *that*.
Kari O February 10, 2012 at 07:55 PM
DC and Mr. Smith, I really appreciate your continued appeals to reason. There are lots and lots of things that we don't do the way our grandparents did them-- I buckle my seat belt, for example. I take antibiotics for bad infections rather than get blood poisoning. And paint doesn't have lead in it, even though it did for a couple of thousand years. Going back to Ben Franklin, we've been a society that adopts change when it's proven to make sense. And having school start at 8 am or later has been proven to make sense.
KH Parent February 10, 2012 at 10:20 PM
The HS starts at 7:40. If the powers that be go through all of this disruption to push the time back a mere 20 minutes, that would be beyond ignorant and a complete waste of time. If they do it, anything less than an hour is a complete waste of time as far as I am concerned.
Bruce February 10, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Is sleep indexed to light and dark? Is sleep indexed to the time of day? Give me a break. How do Swedes and Norwegians do it? How do the Chinese and Japanese do it? Only in America do we need an excuse to sleep in. In America we don't eat well. We don't exercise. We're mostly obese. We sit with our fat faces watching Cable TV, Facebook, our iPhones, Wii, PS3. Our brains are over stimulated. It's no wonder we have trouble sleeping. This is just one more big excuse to let teens get what they want. Oh I can't get up that early. Boo hoo. I bet if there was a Beyonce concert at 8 in the morning they'd get up. Or the promise of a new car! This is the educated elite telling us what we need. Tell this theory to a farmer or baker and they'll laugh you out of town! Just another excuse helping to lead our precious young to a lifetime of government handouts!
Jack Baillargeron February 11, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Having "pride, integrity and willpower" come from home and your parent or parents, not from the govenment, studies, more sleep, less sleep, cookies, candy, smokes, carrots, peas, cod liver oil, soap in the mouth, (well soap may work for some things lol), and so many other things lol. The point I guess is that the debate has lost its way I think This is due to the study being incomplete and not enough information on what the specifics are, that the study used to come to its conclusion. "me" is correct about the study to a point, like polls can be skewed by the way aquestion is worded, studies like this that woud have asked student certain questions, had to depend o these students to answer honestly. That s something that rarely happens as many students take things like this as a joke, skewing the results. Unlike a scientific theory that is proven eventually to be fact. A study is just that, a study not a fact. Lot of studieswere done before no child left behind was put in place, or SAT test, or many other expeiments to improve education, the bottom line is great caring teachers, and prents involvement wih their children, and real life teaching, way to much coddling going on today. Also the thought that every kid slould go to college is a fantasy, not all want to and not all are capable of it. But yet we see money dumped in that they all have to go at the expense of those who should, being disenfrachiased from being more prepared by the teachers, from lack of time.
me February 11, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I love u Bruce!!! Lol from someone who works for the welfare system you hit the nail on the head.
Local Mom February 11, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Ask the kids - mother of two high schoolers here - they don't want later start times. One does athletics, the other does other after-school events - they'd be in bed even later with later school start.
JJMom February 11, 2012 at 10:22 AM
First, teens and toddlers do not need the same amount of sleep. Toddlers need at least 2 to 4 hours more. Also note that with the proposed school start time changes, the elementary students will then be the ones "out in the dark cold." You can't disregard the sleep, safety, and family's lives of the younger students.
JJMom February 11, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Parents of "younger children", I ask you, what percentage of your "younger children" awake naturally by 6 am and can be "made" to go to bed by 7, as Ms. Holmes states? Hahahaha... My husband would never see his kids as he gets home at 7. And believe it or not, some parents who both work, are still either helping their elementary school children finish homework or studying for spelling tests or getting in their required reading time at 7pm. It's obvious the town has not thought this through. If you have to alter all the school's schedules for this change, which does not even guarantee benefits, there best be a lot more thought put into it for the families whose schedules will be disrupted and the younger students who will now be losing sleep.
JJMom February 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Changing an entire town's schools' start times, when the benefit is not guaranteed, since as Dr Millman said, the high schoolers would still have to go to bed at the same time or earlier to reap the benefits, is the same as putting your child in a car seat. That is just silly. And here is a compelling reason to not change the hours, the non-high school students and their families whose schedules and sleep patterns will be totally disrupted by the change.
Christina February 16, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Thank you Maribel, As a parent with children preschool through middle school age, I completely agree with you, and I have the exact same concerns.
Manifold Witness February 16, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Read the studies and decide for yourself whether they are a convincing “scientific” basis upon which to argue for later school start times. Note the scope, the duration, the conditions, the methods, whether there were actual measurable improvements in test scores and grades, whether any academic tests were even administered – or was there just speculation as to what the tests might show had they been administered? Note compilations of previous "studies", etc. Note what they leave out as well. The impact of consistent sleep patterns, including weekends. Note how short some of the “studies” are – two weeks?. With sleep times changing for only one week. These studies may not sufficiently “scientific” to convince us. Read them & tell us what you think.

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