ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Parents have long complained that high school students don’t get enough sleep, and now the state is considering if high school should start later in the morning.
A bill to keep high schools from starting before 8 a.m. was pulled just before a vote because of static from school districts.
High schools in Orange County currently start between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m.
Orange County tried flipping high schools to later start times in 2008 then flipped back.
School board member Christine Moore ran when her son was in high school, and pushed the return to an early start.
“It was really difficult for my family. And I heard that from other parents. There was really an outcry,” Christine Moore said.
She admits the later start saved money, but said the district found other ways to save just as much.
Teacher’s Union President Diana Moore said the decision is based on jobs and activities, not academics.
“Research has shown that a lot of our students are sleep-deprived because they’re working after school and they have a lot of other activities. Unfortunately, I think the decision is being made around those things,” said Diana Moore.
Diana Moore said the teachers complain that first period tardiness is a bigger problem at high schools.
West Orange High School student Haley Papa agrees.
“For my first period there’s like at least three or four people (who are late),” she said. “It’s hard because it’s 5:30 in the morning. You can’t get up that early and not be tired.”
Hayley Papa gets up at 5:30 a.m. for the bus even when she has late drama rehearsals the night before.
Her mother said if she didn’t drive Haley to the bus stop, they’d both have to get up even earlier.
“An extra hour really makes a difference with the time change and everything too,” said Colleen Papa.
Florida House Reps.s Matt Gaetz and Michael Caldwell hope to put their plan for later start times to a vote again.