The student news site of Bak Middle School of the Arts


The student news site of Bak Middle School of the Arts


The student news site of Bak Middle School of the Arts


Opinion: The cons of later universal school start times

By July 2026, a new law will mandate all middle and high schools to start at 8 a.m.
Nethra Jammula
Kanishka Khungar sixth grade communications major, Adrian Wenceslaus sixth grade communications major and Steven Xue, piano major, get on bus R33 at 6:50 a.m in the morning. “I wake up at 5 a.m. I take a shower and get ready. Then I eat breakfast, and I leave the house by 6:35, to get to my bus stop at 6:40,” Khungar said.

Some incoming students at Bak Middle School of the Arts were surprised when they learned school started at 8:20 a.m. instead of the 9 a.m. start time most middle schools in Palm Beach County follow. While some may prefer a later time, in  the end, the best schedule  we could have is  the start time we have right now.’


The bill, HB 733, would mandate middle schools to start no earlier than 8 a.m. and high schools would start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. The change would not go into effect until 2026.


It’s not uncommon for  students to have  siblings who go to other schools, and this affects how  parents drop off their kids. Most of these students have to wake up even earlier so their parents are able to get both on time.

Graphic made with Canva (Inika Sachan)


In fact, more than half of the students said they wanted a later start time since that’s what they were all expecting when entering middle school, yet having later universal school start times can have downsides.


“I have a younger sister that’s in elementary school, and we only have one car at the moment, so my sister has to be dropped off first, and my dad has to drive extra to take both of us to school to get there on time,” seventh grade dance major Isabella Desmondez said.


Having universal start times may affect how late or early students with siblings get to school.


“My sister and I wouldn’t be able to both make it on time. One of us would have to be late everyday, or she could probably ride her bike to her school,” Desmondez said.


When students arrive  late everyday, it can easily disrupt certain routines they desire during class.


According to Swan College, “Students depend on the structure of the day. They know where they have to be and when. They know the main purpose for being in school is to learn and that routines are in place precisely to help them focus on that learning. When students are repeatedly tardy, these routines are disrupted. Children who are often late have trouble settling in and mastering routines.”


Car riders may get to school pretty late because the parent has to drop them off at school, but riding the bus doesn’t make it any easier since the bus doesn’t always make it to school on time. Many students who eat breakfast at school don’t have the time to eat because of how late their bus makes it to school.


“Our bus is often late, and the bell sometimes rings while we are on the bus, making us late for class,”  Sixth grade theater major Sophie Boyd said.


The district’s transportation division may be affected by the time change too, as it makes use of the gradual start to the school day by using the same bus and driver to operate routes to various sorts of schools throughout the morning. For instance, a driver might begin the morning with a route to a high school, complete it, and then go to a route to a middle school.


“The later start times could force Orange and other large districts to purchase more school buses and hire additional bus drivers, The News Service of Florida said.


 More transportation would also be expensive and difficult for the school and the district. Some House Democrats argued that changing start times would be costly and burdensome for school districts.


“That money begins to add up to potentially  $100 [million], $200 million dollars,” Rep. Bruce Antone said, according to WUSF News.


Though the thought of having later school start times might be nice, the start times we have right now are the most beneficial and least negative that they can get.

More to Discover