Petition to Start Amherst Middle School and Souhegan High School at 8:30
PETITION FOR A LATER SCHOOL START TIME FOR AMHERST MIDDLE SCHOOL AND SOUHEGAN HIGH SCHOOL We, the under signed, think that the start times of Amherst Middle School and Souhegan High School should be switched with the start time of the Amherst/Mont Vernon elementary schools. The high school and middle school would start at 8:30 am and the elementary schools would start at 7:30 am. Early high school and middle school start times are hazardous to adolescent health. Because of the early start times, adolescents attending Amherst Middle School and Souhegan High School are not obtaining the necessary sleep each night for growth and development. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adolescents need 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep each night, but due to hormonal changes and early start times less than 15% of teens are receiving 8.5 hours or more. Later start times also would increase performance academically. According to a study conducted in 2002 by Mary Carskadon PhD, a renowned expert on adolescent sleep, said later start times will result in student being less likely to become depressed, reduced likelihood for tardiness to classes, reduced absence, improved grades, reduced risk of car crashes where the driver has fallen asleep at the wheel, and reduced risk of health complications associated with insufficient sleep, including obesity. In the same study, Carskadon showed that students who received C’s, D’s, and F’s went to bed 40 minutes later and got 25 minutes of sleep less than students earning A’s and B’s. At the same time, adolescents have a hard time going to bed before 11:00 pm due to hormonal changes. We feel that by starting school one hour later, the students in our community will be able to excel to their full potential and be able to focus throughout the school day.