Opinion: Later high school start times are detrimental to student wellbeing


Lola Burns

The recent switch of the school start time to 8:30 a.m. does more harm than good for the student body.

Julia Brossia, Writer

As the 2022-2023 school year began, a major change kicked off the year. Disagreements were heard as usual; some students were excited to return to school while others would rather stay home. However, this year has posed a new controversy: a change in school start times. 

Senate Bill (SB) 328 does not allow California high schools to begin before 8:30 a.m. or middle schools to begin before 8 a.m. Although the bill was passed on Jan. 1, 2020, it did not become effective until July 1, 2022, just in time for the new school year. 

While policymakers had good intentions and were set out to support adolescent health, many challenges have arisen for both administrators and students due to the new start time, one main issue being transportation. For students without driver’s licenses, it can be difficult to find a ride to school. Unfortunately, many parents start their workday before 8:30, leaving students with no other option other than coming to school early. 

Emma Flores ‘25 is a sophomore who comes to school an hour early each day. “Taking the bus is not an option for my family, so the only option is my mom taking me super early,” she stated. “The schedule change is annoying because I have to wait here a full hour before school starts,” she went on to explain. 

Because so many students’ only viable modes of transportation are their parents, many of which work early, the new start time has not done much to allow these students a later start to their day. “Since my sister has an 8 starting time, I usually get to school at 8-ish,” Emiliano Ferro ‘25 explained. 

I believe school was easier to manage [beforehand] because the half hour I get in the morning doesn’t really get used for work.

— Emiliano Ferro

In addition to this, SB 328 pushed the end of school to a later time. In the case of most Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) students, school now gets out at 2:30 or 3:30 p.m compared to last year’s 2 or 3 p.m, leaving less time in the day for students to complete homework, sports practice and other extracurricular activities. Not only has this made it much more difficult to juggle all these aspects of life, it has also increased the stress levels of many students.

“[The change] has caused me a little more stress because of sports getting out later. I feel like I don’t have a lot of time to do homework after school because we get out a little later,” Maycie Duston ‘23 remarked. The strain is extra hard on student athletes, some of which aren’t arriving home until 6 p.m. or later. Additionally, student athletes are more likely to miss class time for afternoon competitions as school runs later into the afternoon.

Aside from extracurriculars, schoolwork itself has proved to be a struggle with the later start times. “I think it’d be better if I could get that half hour after school,” Ferro added. Starting and ending school earlier in the day would decrease stress, ease transportation difficulties and allow students more time to do homework as well as extracurriculars. 

Although the purpose of SB 328 is to promote student health, it has had many unintentional repercussions. After almost three years of unpredictable changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more change is the last thing students need. This law is almost futile and has caused unnecessary harm to many students. 

What do you think?