The Student News Site of St. Petersburg High School

Palmetto & Pine


Palmetto & Pine

Palmetto & Pine

Later High School Start Times Are On The Way

Florida passes a bill to bump back high school start times: will this offer relief for students and staff?
The sunrise has always been the welcome banner for students at SPHS in the morning, but in 2026 we might start school at 8:30 instead.
Finnegan Cox
The sunrise has always been the welcome banner for students at SPHS in the morning, but in 2026 we might start school at 8:30 instead.

Saint Pete High students know the feeling of smashing their alarm clock to wake up for a start time that most of the year is in the dark. Luckily for the freshmen (sorry everybody else) that will soon change. This past April, the Florida State Legislature passed a bill that mandates that all public high schools start no earlier than 8:30am. Many have griped about the bus stops in the dark, the fact that they are barely awake, and even oversleep.

   I became curious about this issue in November when I saw on a friend’s Snap Story that a bus driver said the school start times would be changing. My friend had an ecstatic look on her face, and who could blame her? According to a study run by, student performance improved with start times of 8:30 or later. This study said this could even be a mechanism for closing the achievement gap between students. I researched this further and every single study concured with this. Better grades, better awareness, and less risky decisions were the starter pack of every conclusion in those studies. 

For example, according to the American Medical Association schools should begin no earlier than 8:30 am. This is because the biological clock of teenagers is not too far from an owl’s. Usually our bodies like to shut down later and restart later. As a sleep deprived student I agree with this study completely. Additionally the American Pyschological Association stated that teens should get 9 ¼ hours of sleep per night. I bet that none of us gets even within an hour of that right now.

 State Representative Lindsay Cross, who voted yes on this bill reiterated that “science tells us that teenagers have different sleep schedules and we should adjust our school start times to align with that. It’s one way we can help set up our young to be as successful as possible.”

    How does this affect people at St Pete High? “It will positively affect students because they will have more rest in them and they will be able to take on bigger challenges” says Leyton Wadsworth who is an IB freshman. The later start time would also give us more time to prepare for the day. Often many students try to wake up as late as possible to the point of going straight from the bedroom to school with no breakfast in their bellies. Mr. Cano who is a teacher in IB says that “It will give students more time to sleep late because students stay up late often.” Cano teaches A.T.L which is a class where students learn how to perform at their best.  Even teachers could benefit from a later start time. Cano says that “ I would get up at the same time, but it would give me more time to get ready.” Later start times could give teachers more time to prepare for classes in the morning. Overall this would make mornings easier for everyone.

  However, there is always the other side to this. Logistically this would be a bit tough, especially for Pinellas County which is the 26th largest district in the country. Cano says that “they have not done it yet because there would not be enough buses to cover the routes with the middle schools.” Since an 8:30 start time does compete a bit with when middle school students would usually get picked up at their stops, and buses would need to be combined or changed potentially. IB freshman Liam Oliver says that, “It will have a negative effect on my ability to study and spend time with my family.” Doing the quick math as I’m writing this it would shift the end of the school probably to 2:55 or 3:00pm. Families will have to work around that as the later start concurs with rush hour. Students that may have an afterschool life that is on the edge of balance might have it upended a bit with sports, jobs, and school. However, logistically hopefully these timing issues can be solved with a bit of creativity. 

  For all you freshmen out there, this law might be something to look forward to by 2026 (again sorry everybody else.) Students who sleep later will be much healthier and more productive, the staff will get more planning time, and parents will not have to deal with exhausted and grumpy kids ( I can hear my mom cheering in the background.) Most importantly though it gives your brain time to recover from the tough mental workout that we call school. Sleep is like the rest in between sets in a workout. It gives your brain time to make recover and make neural connections, and ultimately become stronger. After all the brain is the strongest muscle in the body, and if it’s well rested then who knows what it can do.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Palmetto & Pine Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *