California later school start law met with differing opinions

October 29, 2019 — by Anjali Nuggehalli

On Sept. 18, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that forces California public high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. 

The bill, set to go into effect in 2022, was passed in hopes of decreasing teenagers’ sleep deprivation.  

Partly in response to the bill, the district has formed the Bell Schedule Evaluation Planning Group (BSE) to explore  a new bell schedule for next year. Sophomore Sanjana Somayajula supports this new law after witnessing the effect that lack of sleep has on her peers. 

“Students are struggling to stay awake during school because of the huge amount of work given,” Somayajula said. “Having a later start would allow high schoolers to catch up on sleep which is super beneficial.”  

Somayajula think this late start law will improve not only students’ grades but also their mental health. With additional time to rest, she expects that students will be more attentive in class, boosting test scores, grades and even happiness.. 

“As of right now, so much focus is put on grades and nothing else, which burns students out,” Somayjula said. “It’s important to have that extra time for yourself to do what makes you happy.”

For his part, senior Robbie Bilic the thinks a later start will be a waste of time. He pointed to conflicts that are sure to occur more often because of later-starting sports practices and a reduced amount of time for homework

While the main purpose of the bill is to allow students more time to sleep, sophomore Nandini Desai does not believe that the late start will solve the problem of sleep deprivation among high schoolers. 

“It’s not like I would get any extra sleep with the late start,” Desai said. “I already have to go to school at 7 a.m. because of my parents’ work schedule, and I’m guessing that this is the case for a lot of students.”

Though the bill seems beneficial at first glance, it may end up causing more problems than it fixes, Desai said.  

“This late start is really not going to help students in any way,” Desai said. “No one’s going to accomplish anything in the extra time, and the bill definitely won’t solve the problem of sleep deprivation amongst high schoolers.”