"Saved by the bell" may be a common refrain among students in classrooms and hallways, but parents and teachers are starting to ask if children should be saved from the bell instead.
Montgomery County parents have signed on to the Start School Later Initiative encouraging lawmakers to start school no earlier than 8 a.m., allowing kids more time for sleep and rest and teachers more time to prepare lessons.
Originating in Severna Park, MD, the petition was presented to members of congress yesterday, according to movement organizer Heather Macintosh, with nearly 5,000 signatures from all 50 states. Over 1,000 of those signatures were from parents and educators in Maryland.
"The [petition] comments range from student pleas for a more humane schedule, to educators wishing their students weren't still asleep, to health professionals and researchers seriously concerned about the damage we're doing to kids' mental and physical health," said movement organizer Heather Macintosh.
In Montgomery County petitioners had the following to say:
"My son will be a 9th grader in the upcoming school year. He and his grades will suffer greatly due to the unhealthy early start of high school," said Maria Lampos of Gaithersburg in the petition.
"With increasing demands on student teacher performance, restricting school start time to after 8 a.m. is the right thing to do. This would give everyone impacted a chance for better success," wrote Christine Zmuda of Potomac.
"The early start time of high school puts tremendous stress on parents as well as children. I have seen this both professionally as a psychologist and personally as a parent. I cannot wait for my younger son to be out of high school so I don't have to get up so early every morning either!" Lisa Meier of Bethesda wrote.
What do you think? Are school hours fine as they are or is there room for change?