I read, with sympathy, your column explaining why: "School should start later for older students." My children attended Oneonta High School from 2000 to 2006. We had the same problems with the early morning classes that you're experiencing now. At that time, there were already many studies showing the importance of later classes for adolescents, and some schools in other parts of the country were showing an improvement in academic performance when they started at a later time.

I approached the school board about this issue and was given several reasons why school could not start later in Oneonta. One was that the same buses taking elementary children to school were used for the high school students. If the buses picked up the younger children first, they would be waiting at bus stops in the dark on winter mornings and they would get home too early, before anyone would be there. Another reason had to do with the sports schedule. High school students often have competitions in far-off towns, so leaving later would mean getting home very late at night.

I don't recall the other reasons, except that some personal friends who worked at the school told me they enjoyed getting out of work early so they had free time in the afternoon.

None of the reasons for the school's early hours had to do with the students' health and academic performance. I hope the parents of today's high school students can discuss these issues with the school board and come up with a solution to the problem.

Emily VanLaeys


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