Suburban Doctor Pushes for Later School Start Times

Nitin Soorya, an emergency physician at St. Alexius Medical Center, has started an online petition requesting the Illinois Board of Education establish a policy that regulates school start times. He says all students should start after 8 a.m.

Patch file photo
Patch file photo
One local doctor is looking to prompt legislators to create a statewide policy that would establish later school start times. 

Nitin Soorya, an emergency physician at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, has started an online petition requesting the Illinois Board of Education establish a policy that requires no child of any age to be in class before 8 a.m. or on a school bus before 7 a.m.

"Many high schools today start school in the 7 o'clock hour, a practice started several decades ago to save money by recycling school bus runs," Soorya writes in the online petition. 

The earlier school start times mess with the student's sleep schedule and also affect the health and welfare of the child, according to the online petition. 

Soorya says considerable research shows a relationship between school start times and sleep deprivation, student performance, truancy, absenteeism, depression, mood swings, impulse control and tobacco and alcohol use. The online petition states 8:30 a.m. or later is an ideal start time. 

Legislation is needed to mandate start times that will benefit the student's health and their educational well-being, according to the online petition. 

As of Tuesay morning, the online petition has 177 signature with a goal of reaching 200 signatures. The plan is to deliver the petition to Dr. Christopher Koch, State Superintendent of the Illinois Board of Education; Dr. Gery J. Chico, Chairman of the Illinois Board of Education; and the remaining members of the Illinois Board of Education, according to the online petition. 

View the online petition above or by visiting here

Tell us in the comments section: What time does school start for your children? Do you think it's too early, too late or the perfect time? 

Vicki Schmidt June 11, 2014 at 09:52 AM
Going to bed earlier is not an option when students are involved with activities in the evenings. School is a part of the child's life, there are other activities and events that lend to a well balanced life outside of school. This you will find if you start applying to colleges.
Joe Ski June 11, 2014 at 03:22 PM
Sorry Vicki, but I've already (recently) been down this path. One a year removed from college and the other still going. They were both involved in plenty of activities outside of high school and figured out a way to balance those after school activities with getting enough sleep to be ready to go when the bell rang for their first class at 7:45. If a kid (or an adult for that matter) has to be up at 6:00 AM to start their day, then they make sure they're in bed by 10:00 the night before.
Tonya Hand Dring June 11, 2014 at 06:04 PM
I have 5 kids and with all of their homework, dinner, activities, showers, etc, we find it hard to fit it all in. They have tons of homework and then it's hard to fall asleep immediately afterwards. I definitely think these kids shouldn't be starting school at 7:15 a.m.
Brian Howell June 11, 2014 at 11:52 PM
Research upon research backs this doctor up. Teens' body clock naturally move later (staying up later and getting up later.) 7:15 start times are foolish and work AGAINST good learning. Elementary school starts at 9:15! It should be the opposite. Little kids pop out of bed bright and early. Teens? Not so much. That's biology.
Wendy June 15, 2014 at 11:40 AM
I agree with the Doctor. Too many kids have extra curricular activities on top of doing homework, eating, showering etc. High school start time is a bit too early for these kids.


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