Williamson County Schools hold meeting to discuss school start time

Photo: WKRN

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Williamson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney held the first of three public meetings Thursday to discuss possible changes in start times for some students.

Dr. Looney is working to determine whether it would benefit students to push back start times for high school students and make start times for elementary students earlier.

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

Data shows that less than a third of high school students are getting eight hours or more of sleep each night.

“Our high school students aren’t getting enough sleep,” said Dr. Looney. “Their body clocks are such that it’s very hard for them to go to sleep at the same time as we adults and younger children.”

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

The change would be a complete switch. There are plenty of concerns and complaints about the idea.

Parents worry about getting their elementary-age kids out the door any earlier than normal.

There are also safety issues if younger children are waiting for the bus before the sun comes up on winter mornings and questions about childcare after school if they come home earlier.

Students are also divided.

Two friends, Chloe and Samantha, are freshmen at Nolensville High School.

“I feel like it’s a bad idea,” Chloe told News 2. “Students will be overly tired. I feel like it just won’t work out.”

“I’m in the middle, personally,” Samantha said. “I would love the extra hour of sleep, but I also wouldn’t want my afternoon to be cut short.”

Dr. Looney says no decision has been made. He’s hoping to get more input from parents and faculty before any changes are implemented.

Parents are encouraged to attend the two remaining public meetings. They’ll take place on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at Centennial High School and Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. at Fairview High School.

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