Bay County School District Considering Change to High School Start Time

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A highly contested topic in school districts throughout the country, school start times was the focus of Wednesday's meeting between Bay County School District Superintendent Bill Husfelt and dozens of high school students.

Right now the first period bell rings at 7:30 a.m. for all but Bozeman high schoolers. That, however, could change starting next year. The Bay County School District said it's considering pushing back start times at least 30 minutes to an hour. Many students support the idea.

"At night we have homework and then I have to get up so early it just always doesn't work out well," said Arnold 9th Grader Micaela Fowler.

The issue surrounds sleep. Many high schoolers say they simply don't get enough of it. But they're not just complaining, it appears science is on their side.

"When their body starts to change and develop, the hormonal changes contribute to that. So when parents are frustrated they can't get their child up before noon on a Saturday, there's a biological and physical reason for that," said Bay County School District Instructional Specialist and former school counselor Suzanne Farrar.

We posted the question on our Facebook page and in a matter of no time, the comments started flooding in. Dara Ann Strickland said "Change it! With a person with kids in elementary and high school it is insane!" But Mike Hall weighed in on the other end of the spectrum saying "The focus needs to remain on education and self-dicipline. Time is irrelevant."

The comments both at Wednesday's meeting and online were evidence the issue doesn't come with an easy solution. District officials said they're also considering an increase to the elementary school day.

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