Start School Later in the Three Village Central School District

Start School Later in the Three Village Central School District

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Petition to
Three Village Central School District The Three Village Central School District Board of Education

Why this petition matters

     Sleep deprivation has harmful effects on children's mental and physical health, and is detrimental to their academic and athletic performance. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to perform poorly in school, be overweight, suffer from depression and anxiety, and engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and using illicit drugs. Student athletes who are sleep deprived are twice as likely to get injured and slower to recover from injuries than well-rested peers. Typically, athletes need more sleep than non-athletes because longer sleep times are necessary for complete recovery from intense physical exertion.

    Teenagers experience a hormonal storm that brings many consequences, including a shift in the sleep-wake cycle to later hours. Teenagers will naturally fall asleep later than younger children because of a physiological shift in the timing of brain melatonin production. This means that a typical junior high and high school student will naturally wake up later than an elementary school child - yet our school system assumes the opposite. This misconception results in sleep deprived students. Restoring healthy sleep times for teens results in an immediate improvement of their academic and athletic performance.

    In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urged school districts across the country to delay the start of secondary schools to 8:30 a.m. or later. Since then, many US school districts - including some on Long Island - have moved start times for junior high and high schools to healthier times. These changes have been initiated by their Boards of Education (BOEs) who have worked to inform parents and communities of the health and academic benefits of later start times and then proceeded to implement the necessary changes.

    We understand that there are obstacles to implementing changes in school schedules. Nonetheless, it has been shown that whatever hurdles a change in start times might pose, these are vastly outweighed by improved student health, and academic and athletic performance. Many school districts have already changed. The average high school start time on Long Island is now almost one hour later than the TVCSD. Without change, we risk falling behind other districts, limiting both the academic and athletic ambitions of our students. 

    It is about time that we start working together to make this change happen in the Three Village Central School District (TVCSD).

With this petition, we are requesting that:

1. The TVCSD Board of Education implements healthier start times for our junior high and high schools, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

2. The biology of sleep, sleep hygiene and the health risks posed by sleep deprivation are covered in the health curriculum in our schools, starting in the 4th grade.


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