An Ohio Senator is proposing to put an end to early start times for Ohio public schools. The proposal, known as Senate Bill 218, would prevent schools from starting before 8:30 a.m.
It is similar to a bill the state of California passed earlier this year.
“Down the road, I definitely want him to be happy going into school and not miserable,” said parent Taibi Mastelse. “Nobody wants to start their day like that you know? That’s like asking an adult to wake up at three in the morning and begin their responsibilities.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics believes students’ health, safety, and academic success suffers when they start school before 8:30 in the morning.
Mastelse welcomes the proposal from Ohio Senator Sandra Williams which would prohibit Ohio public schools from starting before 8:30 in the morning, citing the public health issues.
“That just seems too broad,” said another parent, Jessica Bezant.
Not all parents agree with the potential change because they argue that there are other factors that play a role in why students start school at a certain time.
“There are plenty of families that they need to bring their kids in earlier to the schools because they have to work, they don’t have nannies or babysitters,” said Mariona Surribas.
Bezant said, “You have to have some kind of organization for parents who have children in multiple age levels and so it needs to be organized.”
Columbus City middle and high schools start at 7:30 a.m.
Upon reaching out to the Columbus City Schools District, which is the largest in Ohio, about the proposal, a CCS spokesperson said, “A change in bell times has not been discussed by Dr. Dixon’s team.”
The spokesperson added the district has a two-tiered busing schedule.
Bus drivers begin the day as early as 6 a.m. to pick up high school and middle school students to get to them to school first. After that, the drivers go back out to pick up the elementary students and take them to school.
The spokesperson states: “A later start time wouldn’t accommodate this schedule.”
Parents said they understand the concern, but some want the decision to come from their school district and not the state.
“I think school leaders need to be somewhat sensitive to that, but I think ultimately it needs to be whatever’s best for the children,” said Bezant.
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