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Bill Mandating Later School Start for Teenage Students Clears Senate, Moves to Assembly

June 5, 2017

California middle and high school students would get to sleep a bit later each morning under a bill that’s passed the California Senate. SB 338 – a measure that would push their school start times back to at least 8:30 a.m. starting in 2020 – cleared the State Senate on a 23-13 vote on May 30, and now goes to the California Assembly for consideration.

Los Angeles County State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La CaƱada) said his bill offers lawmakers a chance to do more than just talk about doing what’s best for children.

"Here’s an opportunity to do that in a simple, practical way with valid science behind it and results that match that science," Portantino told Capital Public Radio in Sacramento.

But State Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), a former school superintendent, said she appreciates the bill’s intent but disagrees that moving the opening bell back will help students. She says teachers dread classes later in the school day.

"They will do just about anything to avoid teaching 5th or 6th period," Fuller told Capital Public Radio. "It is because students are tired, they want to go home, and that’s when the discipline curve begins to rise."

SB 328 is supported by The American Academy of Pediatrics, California State PTA, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, California Federation of Teachers, California Sleep Society, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Educate.Advocate., High School Parent Engagement Group, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Loyola University Maryland, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Public Advocates, Stanford University School of Medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Stony Brook Medicine Program in Public Health, University of Washington – Department of Biology, and numerous individuals.

However, the Association of California School Administrators, California School Boards Association, and California Teachers Association oppose SB 328.

Sources:  Capital Public Radio, EdBrief staff.

A Total School Solutions publication.