Now a solution has been suggested and is highly supported by pediatricians: Move the school start time back for teenagers. I know that this suggestion is not perfect, but it could be extremely helpful for the students. I am really surprised by the amount of pushback it has gotten from numerous groups. Now I acknowledge that it's easy for me to be supportive of this measure. When I worked in high schools, getting in at 7am was rough, but the ability to leave by 3:30 and beat rush hour traffic was phenomenal. I would not have been happy if my schedule was uprooted and my commute increased. But I do think the students will benefit. I've seen many students do quite well academically, but can't seem to raise their grade in their first period class. I've seen students who ALWAYS got in trouble at a certain point in the day because they just couldn't hold themselves together emotionally on so little sleep. A later start time better matches up with a teenagers natural circadian rhythms and would benefit them immensely. Conversely, a younger child's circadian rhythm better matches up with an earlier start time (anyone who has children older than 3 can attest to this).
Check out the following article and then decide which side you stand on. Leave a comment here, tweet me @fpschDrSweeney, or contact me directly. I'd love to hear people's thoughts!