Williamson County reviewing school start times

Williamson County School Bus
(Photo: WKRN)

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WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – It could be an earlier wake-up call for elementary students in Williamson County and high school kids could get a little more time to sleep in.

The goal is to get high school students more sleep so they hopefully do better in school.

Right now, high school students start around 7:30 a.m. and end around 2:30 p.m. and elementary kids go to school around 8:30 a.m. and get out around 3:30 a.m.

The change would just be a complete switch.

High school students would sleep in starting around 8:30 a.m. and elementary kids would have to get up an hour earlier to start at 7:30 a.m.

“I’m not sure that starting school later for high schoolers is really going to guarantee they’re going to go to bed earlier. I don’t think that’s going to guarantee that my son goes to bed earlier,” said middle school mom Valerie Guenst.

“I think it is a great idea,” said Lindy Gelman who’s daughter is in high school.

“It would give her a later start time and she would get a better night’s sleep and then when she gets home from school she would be refreshed for homework,” said Gelman.

“I think it would tremendously help our county schools,” said Laura Stone, who has kids in elementary school.

While the change would be nice for high school students, according to some parents, News 2 wanted to find out what parents of elementary students thought.

“I think the younger kids are already getting an earlier bed time so I think the sleep deprivation comes with the older students,” said Stone.

There are some mixed reviews, so Superintendent Mike Looney going to the community with a YouTube video where he talks about the pros and cons and lays out all of the issues.

Williamson County parents say they need more information but say they might be on board for switching.

Elyse Hood says, “High schoolers are just doing tons of homework, staying up late and then waking up at 5:45-6 o’clock in the morning so I’d be thrilled with them starting closer to 8 o’clock in the morning.”

But there are questions like, who is going to watch the elementary students if their high school siblings are still in school.

Valerie Guenst says, “Especially mothers who already have arrangements for child care and that kind of thing so maybe if there was a phase in or some period of time where they allowed parents to make adjustments to their schedules and that sort of thing.”

Other questions include:

  • How will the district address safety concerns as elementary students will be waiting for the morning school bus in the dark.
  • How will the change affect high school students who have after school practices, activities and work?

The district plans to address those questions with several community meetings starting next month.

  • September 8, 6 p.m. at Nolensville High School
  • September 13, 6 p.m. at Centennial High School
  • September 20, 6 p.m. at Fairview High School

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