Hillsborough Public Schools drawing criticism with proposed bell schedule

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A proposed change to the 2018-2019 school bell schedule in Hillsborough County is on the drawing board and drawing criticism.

The changes would require high school and magnet school students to hit the books around 7:15 or 7:45 in the morning.

“It really is important to have a good night sleep,” said parent Ronald Garcia.

The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees.

The group studied school start times and determined starting school before 8:30 a.m. is a bad thing, because it can deprive students of sleep and cause a drop in mental alertness.

“We definitely don’t want them to be sleepy, because sleepiness has risks,” said Dr. Elizabeth Murray of the Academy.

The risks range from safety issues to forgetfulness.

“If you’re not rested, your brain’s not going to learn all that new information you need,” Murray said.

Hillsborough school leaders say the proposed change would ease the heavy burden on bus turnarounds, giving drivers more time between pick-ups for high school and middle and elementary school students.

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