California bill requiring later school start times vetoed


Katherine Wang

On September 20, California State Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill called SB 328 requiring public middle and high school start times to be no earlier than 8:30. This change would have had to been initiated by schools beginning Jan. 1, 2021.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Brown opposes the “one-size-fits-all” approach that this bill would entail and believes that start times should be tailored by the school board based on the situation of each community.

According to the Los Angeles Times, researchers have concluded that pushing school start times would reduce students’ risk of depression, suicide, and car accidents, while increasing attendance rates, average grades, test scores, and sleep time.

Some schools whose start times were pushed to later in the day have caused inconvenience for various parents, teachers, and students and showed no benefit.

For example, when Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster changed their school start time attendance rates decreased, prompting them to revert to the original start time.

Mike Mathiesen, District Associate Superintendent, said that the district currently does not have any plans on switching start times. “Once the Senate bill was passed, other topics came to the board’s attention, it’s kind of been put on hold,” he said.

Mathiesen expressed concern that pushing back school start times would potentially cause inconvenient changes to traffic patterns, commute times, afterschool care and responsibilities, and morning drop off.

*Photo courtesy of The California Globe