Later School Start Times for ORCSD

This petition made change with 212 supporters!

This petition was created by students in the ORCSD School District, who have experienced and witnessed the negative physical and mental effects of sleep deprivation. Ask the school board to act now and not postpone the decision another year. 

 Major studies show that most adolescents suffer from sleep deprivation when their school day begins before 8:30 AM. Most teens undergo a "phase delay" in their sleep patterns, causing them to naturally fall asleep later and wake up later in the morning than they did in early childhood. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that high schools start class after 8:30 AM.

Sleep deprivation endangers children's health and safety, contributing to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, obesity, and car crashes, among many other issues. Inadequate sleep is also associated with poorer academic and athletic performance.

  Schools that have changed to later start times report that their students show improved attendance, improved academic performance, higher standardized test scores, increased efficiency in homework, lower rates of depression, fewer disciplinary referrals, and increased total sleep. One city experienced a 70% reduction in teen car crashes. 

Sign the petition to support a 8:30 AM school start time and to advocate for the ORCSD school board to vote on later high school and middle school start times in time for the change to occur in time for the 2016-2017 school year.

Please do not sign the petition if you are not a student, parent of a student, or a teacher in the ORCSD school district. Please only sign once per person, please do not create multiple accounts to sign multiple times. If you support this petition please share it with others who might be interested in our cause.

For more studies and information visit the Start School Later Website


Student Essays:


Matthew Lyon, Karl Mohr

 LA2 3/24/16

Oyster River Middle School

Durham NH, 03824

Schools Start too Early


Sleep deprivation in teens has been linked to obesity, car accidents, a decrease in mental and physical performance, lower grades and test scores, depression, suicide, and a lower quality of life. Teens need about nine hours of sleep, however many adolescents report sleeping seven hours or less on weeknights. This is due to changes in both the homeostatic and circadian systems as kids grow into adolescence. But once children become teenagers their circadian rhythms become fixed at sleeping at around 11pm to 7am. Teens circadian rhythms can not be changed easily and If they wake up against them it causes them physical and mental stress. Teens circadian rhythms cause teens to be more active and awake in the evening and prolongs the time it takes for teens to go to bed.

The same thing can happen to adults, except when it happens to adults it is abnormal and it is diagnosed as delayed sleep phase syndrome. Some people might think that if they send teens to bed earlier it would resolve this issue. But studies done by the National Sleep Foundation show that teens don’t produce the sleep inducing hormone, melatonin, until around 11 o’clock p.m. which peaks at 7 a.m., In adults melatonin production peaks around 4 a.m. This means that trying to wake up a teen before 7 a.m. is like trying to wake up an adult before 4 a.m..

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) have recommended that schools start no later than 8:30. Schools that have made the change have reported increased grades, test scores, and overall happiness. The CDC has conducted studies and surveys which show that 42 states reported that 75% to 100% of public schools start before 8:30. Another study said that students that got 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep improved their safety, academic ability, and overall mood.

Often people oppose later school start time saying that there will not be enough time for sports or homework. But when students get enough sleep they will have perform better in their homework and sports can start either directly after school or later at night which they already do.

We believe that changing school start times in a community to be later than 8:30 will greatly improve the general welfare of the students and the community.

Works Cited

"Are You Up Yet?" The New York Times. The New York Times, 31 Jan. 2008. Web. 25 Mar. 2016.

"Schools Start Too Early." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Aug. 2015. Web. 25 Mar. 2016.

"Start School Later - Home." Start School Later. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2016.


Evan Chandran

Later School Start Times for Healthier Kids

“Sleep is not optional. It’s a health imperative, like eating, breathing and physical activity.  This is a huge issue for adolescents.”     - Dr. Judith A. Owens

I believe middle and high schools should start later because adolescents are not getting enough sleep.  Many students barely drag themselves out of bed in the morning, and have a very difficult time focusing in that first period class.  This is an issue that mainly affects adolescents and teenagers due to their different circadian rhythms. It has been shown that adolescents’ biological clocks differ from adults’, and they have trouble falling asleep before 11pm.  If schools start at 7:30, it is impossible for them to get enough sleep.  But if they started an hour later and ended an hour later, teenagers would be able to catch up on that extra hour of sleep.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, adolescents need 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep each night.  However, less than a third of high school students get this much sleep.  Studies have shown that students in schools that start later get more sleep and have higher test scores.

In addition, students who get less sleep are less likely to be healthy.  According to the CDC,  adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, not get enough exercise every day, perform poorly in school, be depressed, and engage in illegal activities such as drinking and using drugs.  

Not only do schools with later start times have more awake students and better grades, but they are also safer.  A study in 2008 showed that accident rates among 16-18 year olds were 41% higher in a school with 7:25 start times than in a nearby school wit 8:40 start times.  In addition, getting less than 8 hours of sleep a night has been linked to suicide attempts increasing threefold.  

However, people may still complain that there is not enough time for athletics or homework.  If school got out an hour later (3:30), athletics could meet right after school, or they could meet later in the evening (as many of them already do).  There still should be plenty of time for homework, and students will likely be able to complete their homework more quickly if they have gotten enough sleep.  

Overall, starting middle and high school an hour later will allow adolescents to get more sleep, perform better in school, and be healthier.  The benefits far outweigh any drawbacks.  If any students don’t experience a change in their biological clocks, they can still get up early, but the group as a whole will greatly benefit from the change.  

Works Cited

"Hard Lesson in Sleep for Teenagers." Well Hard Lesson in Sleep for Teenagers Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

"Schools Start Too Early." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Aug. 2015. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

"U.S. Schools Kids Start Too Early, Study Finds." NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.





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