California Mandates Later Start Times at Middle Schools and High Schools

California is the first state in the nation to mandate that schools start later so students can get more sleep.

California Mandates Later Start Times at Middle Schools and High Schools

Teens generally need more shut-eye and have very different sleeping patterns than adults or children.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation on Sunday that mandates most public schools have later start times. Middle schools will be prohibited from starting before 8 a.m. and high schools will be prohibited from starting before 8:30 a.m.

The change was made because research has found that students in middle school and high school do better academically and socially when class starts later in the morning, reports ABC7. Additionally, the CDC found that high schoolers don’t get enough sleep.

Teens generally need more shut-eye and have very different sleeping patterns than adults or children. They need eight to 10 hours of sleep per night. Additionally, teens go to sleep later  because the secretion of melatonin in their brains is delayed, which causes them to fall asleep later, according to research that appears in the current issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Also, earlier school start times are associated with increased teenage car crash rates, according to a research abstract by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

With the passage of this new law, California becomes the first state in the nation to mandate later start times for middle schools and high schools. However, the Boston School Board Committee voted unanimously back in 2017 to start class times later for its high schools. The change went into effect in the 2018-2019 academic year.

California school districts will be allowed three years to change their start times.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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4 responses to “California Mandates Later Start Times at Middle Schools and High Schools”

  1. Gene Harris says:

    I am not surprised this is happening in California. School start times do not need to be pushed back, bed time needs to be pushed up. This is an issue of parents taking back control of the lives of their kids/students, and if that means cutting back on extracurricular activities do it, not something for the state to be involved in.

  2. Robert Smith says:

    I believe its due to this generation not being as active as previous generations. Kids now a days spend more time playing video games and surfing the web on their cell phones while sitting at home instead of going outside and running around. If parents would limit the phone use or what they can see or how its used (Which can be done) kids would start doing things which would tire themselves out and go to sleep earlier. I hear kids say their parents let them stay up till after midnight (1, 2 AM) on a school night watching tv or playing video games or texting friends. Instead of looking for the “quick fix” to the problem, I believe people need to look at the underlying issues and fix/change them for a more long term answer.

  3. Robert Smith says:

    I completely agree with you.

  4. Martha J McCaughey says:

    As a parent I am thrilled that school start times will be later. Not only does it more closely mirror the reality of parents’ work scheduled and family life, research has shown that it has BETTER LEARNING OUTCOMES for the children– and we ALL benefit from that. Frankly I am surprised and disappointed to see people commenting here who want to turn this into a moral lesson for parents to be better parents!

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