A consensus letter has been forwarded to Members of the California Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom, urging the passage of Senate Bill 328 (SB 328), a bill that would set healthier limits on how early in the day state middle and high schools can start classes.
Because of changes in the sleep cycle that occur during puberty, health experts recommend that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. The bill, introduced by Senator Anthony Portantino, is co-sponsored by the nonprofit Start School Later and the California State PTA and has widespread support from a host of health, safety, and education groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics California, the California Medical Association, the California Police Chiefs Association, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the California Psychiatric Association, the National Sleep Foundation, and myriad hospitals and universities.
The consensus letter was signed by experts within California and around the U.S.A., including Dr. William Dement (the “Father of Sleep Medicine”), Dr. Mark Rosekind (Former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA), and Dr. Matthew Walker (author of the New York Times bestselling book Why We Sleep). A prior version of the bill was passed by the state legislature last year, but vetoed by Governor Brown, who voiced concerns about local control.
“This consensus letter confirms that setting reasonable limits on morning school schedules rests on an unprecedentedly strong evidence base. The time has come to turn this science into policy before we subject yet another generation of children to unsafe, unhealthy hours,” notes Dr. Terra Ziporyn Snider, Executive Director of Start School Later. “The eyes of the nation are on this landmark piece of legislation.”
Start School Later is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to ensure school start times compatible with health, safety, education, and equity. Visit their website at www.startschoollater.net.
The consensus letter can be viewed at https://www.startschoollater.net/uploads/9/7/9/6/9796500/consensus_letter_for_research_health_medical_experts_sb328_090919.pdf