FALLS CHURCH, Va. - Fairfax County school board members voted 10 to 2 Thursday night in favor of a resolution that would explore starting high school classes later.
Many on the board seemed to be swayed by arguments made by some parents, educators, health professionals and students that forcing teenagers to wake up early goes against their natural clocks and leads to poor school performance.
Many like Caroline Hemenway, who has a daughter in her senior year, says it has been proven scientifically.
“Adolescents have brain chemistry that doesn't let them get to sleep until after 11 o'clock or so at night, so in order to get the full amount of sleep that they need, they have to be able to sleep later on in the morning,” says Hemenway.
Nearly three years after the Fairfax County School Board voted against a proposal to accommodate later high school start times, a School Board with many new faces is preparing to take a second bite of the “teen sleep deprivation” apple.
Thursday night, the 12-member board was slated to vote on a resolution to develop a goal of pushing Fairfax County’s 7:20 a.m. high school start time back by one hour or more.
The debate is likely to go on for several months and stir emotions among students, parents, teachers and administrators. Bus drivers and coaches might have a thing or two to say, as well.