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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Gov. Newsom, allow kids more sleep by delaying school start times

A bill on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk would require later start times for secondary schools in California.
A bill on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk would require later start times for secondary schools in California.
(Sung Yoon Jo / Getty Images / iStockphoto)

To the editor: Your editorial on a state bill requiring later start times for schools ignored the clear, conclusive and expansive body of evidence showing the many health and safety benefits to adolescents from later starts. In fact, more than 120 of the nation’s leading sleep, health, safety and public health experts signed a consensus letter asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign Senate Bill 328 into law.

Evidence from school districts across the U.S. confirms that starting school at times that allow for more sleep is a necessary and effective countermeasure to the epidemic of adolescent sleep deficiency. SB 328 merely sets a floor on how early secondary schools can require attendance, leaving districts scheduling flexibility while empowering them to improve children’s health, safety and academic performance.

SB 328 is co-sponsored by the California State PTA and is supported by public safety organizations. It has strong support from many medical, health and scientific organizations, with none opposing it.

Our youth are our future, and they urgently need SB 328 to protect them from further harm.

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Amy R. Wolfson, Baltimore

Dr. Rafael Pelayo, Stanford, Calif.

Dr. Judith Owens, Cambridge, Mass.

Lauren Hale, Stony Brook, N.Y.

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Kyla L. Wahlstrom, Minneapolis

Terra Ziporyn Snider, Severna Park, Md.

Wolfson is a professor of psychology at Loyola University Maryland; Pelayo is a clinical professor at the Stanford Center for Sleep Science and Medicine; Owens is a professor of neurology and director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Harvard; Hale is a professor at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University and editor in chief of the journal Sleep Health; Wahlstrom is a senior research fellow at the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development; and Snider is executive director of the group Start School Later.


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