California Considers Legislating a Delay for School Start Times

California law makers are considering a permanent snooze button on early school days.

Senate Bill 328 promises to slow down the morning race for parents like Karen Ameche. She described her family’s morning routine as hectic.

"It’s get up at this time, so we can leave at this time, to be at school at this time," Ameche said.

While Ameche is all for a later start time for school, John Hall said a change like that would complicate things.

"I’m going to work 7 a.m. - 7:30 a.m., if I'm late and you push it back an hour, you've kind of messed up my work schedule," he said.

Los Angeles area Sen. Anthony Portantino who authored the bill says it’s about the health of kids not about parent schedules.

Recent studies show teenagers aren't getting close to the eight to 10 hours of recommended sleep per night.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree and say 8:30 school start times would result in happier and healthier kids.

According to a policy statement issued in 2014 entitled "Let Them Sleep", the AAP said, Many studies have documented that the average adolescent in the U.S. is chronically sleep-deprived and pathologically sleepy."

Parent Kim Hughes agrees and said she sees it first-hand.

"We are late many days because they don't want to wake up or get out of bed,” Hughes said. “I think a later start would be great for kids."

While this idea might sound good to some, there are those who think it’s overstepping the role of government.

“That falls on parents to put their kids to bed, they let their kids stay up on the computer all night playing games, online, doing whatever, kids are up til midnight," parent Jennifer Garcia said.

Arguments against the change include its impact on after school sports and activities as well as concerns about teens getting home even later, well after dark.

Some teachers believe student behavior gets worse later in the day. One teacher told NBC 7 her students seem to get a little more tired towards the end of the day and are not as alert.

The San Diego Unified School District, the second largest school district in the state, hasn't taken a stance on the legislation. A spokesperson says any change to start times would require new negotiations with the teachers union while presenting serious challenges to the transportation department.

The proposed legislation would affect only middle and high school students and would not begin until 2020. The bill passed the state senate and moves on to the assembly.

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