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Speak Out: Should Fairfax County High School Seniors Sleep In?

Fairfax County Public Schools will let some students opt out of first period this fall.

Should seniors be allowed to show up for school after 8 a.m. this fall? Patch file photo
Should seniors be allowed to show up for school after 8 a.m. this fall? Patch file photo

By Karen Goff

Are high school seniors going to hit the snooze button this fall?

They can, according to a new Fairfax County Public Schools rule.

The school system notified students this month that some high schoolers can opt out of first period. For the 2014-15 school year, administrators are looking into an option for students in other grades.

In 2012, the Fairfax County School Board passed a resolution that said one of its goals is to achieve later start times for high school students, something that has been an ongoing discussion in the county.

The local advocacy group SLEEP has been advocating for nearly 10 years for the school system to change its high school start times from 7:20 a.m. to later than 8 a.m.

SLEEP says some students board buses as early as 5:45 a.m. and that many high schoolers are chronically sleep deprived, which can lead to car crashes, depression and other issues.

As part of the discussion about later start times, the school board directed the superintendent’s office to provide an option for high school seniors to opt out of their first class of the day, according to the school system.

So when school begins next week, seniors who are on track for graduation and do not need their first class of the day to graduate may elect to drop up to two first period classes. 

A parent or guardian and high school principal must give written permission to seniors who wish to use this option.  

Bus transportation will not be provided to any student who chooses this scheduling option. 

How do you feel about the sleep-in option? Good plan for overtaxed kids or should waking up early be proper prep for real-world life? Tell us in the comments.

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