Gov. Newsom Signs Bill for 8:30 AM High School School Start Time

Helen Husky, Staff Writer

On Sunday, October 13, 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Bill 328, which states that all California high schools must push back their start times to no earlier than 8:30 AM and must adopt the law by or before July 1, 2022.

Bill 328 was introduced by Sen. Anthony Portantino and was heavily based on research and studies that show students achieve better academically and are physically healthier when they are given later school start times.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states, that a “substantial body of research has now demonstrated that delaying school start times is an effective countermeasure to chronic sleep loss and has a wide range of potential benefits to students with regard to physical and mental health, safety, and academic achievement.”

Late start times for schools has been a heavily debated topic in the government throughout the years.  Similar legislation was vetoed last year by former Gov. Jerry Brown, where he stated in an interview that “these are the types of decisions best handled in the local community.”

The changing of the start of the school day raises several questions and concerns such as how it will affect sports, busing, parents who will no longer have a matching workday, and daycare to name a few.

“It may be good for kids but bad for families. Maybe kids could have the choice for a later schedule if they wanted it rather than subjecting it to all,” stated teacher Amy McAndrews. “As a mom, I feel this would not be good for our family. I feel like we struggle to run from activities to dinner to homework with hardly any time for family time.  This law would lessen this time even more.”

The 8:30 delayed start time would not apply to zero period, so classes such as Advanced Choir and Jazz Band would not be affected by the time change unless those classes wanted to follow suit as well by delaying their start time. The schedule would also need to be redesigned and reworked by Principal Loren Lighthall, Superintendent Brenda Smith, and then approved by the HUSD board – still maintaining the mandatory start time of no earlier than 8:30 for first period.

“I think it will be good because now students will have more time to sleep and will also be more likely not to fall asleep during class,” said junior Daisy Medina.

The state has suggested that schools advertise in advance the rationale behind this decision and the benefits it will have on student well-being and health.

“I hate it because you get out later,” said senior Pedro Acosta, whose graduating class, thankfully, will not be affected by the bill.

Lillian Madsen, a freshman who will be a senior when the bill takes effect, commented, “That actually sounds really nice. I think that it will be very beneficial to students’ health I think because kids stay up very late doing homework, sports, and other things like that.”

Middle schools were also included in Bill 328 and will be mandated to not start any earlier than 8:00 am.