To: SPSD board of education and superintendent

Please move the So Portland middle school and high school start times to 8:30am or later

We respectfully request that our South Portland, ME Board of Education and Superintendent follow the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics and move our middle school and high school start times to 8:30am or later for the next school year.

Why is this important?

Scientific research has proven that there is a shift in the circadian rhythm of adolescents. During this shift teens have difficulty falling asleep at night and they continue to produce melatonin well into the morning hours which makes it difficult to wake up. This shift coupled with early morning start times, results in chronic sleep deprivation which is bad for our kids on so many levels.

The following is directly from the AAP policy statement released 8/25/14:

In a new policy statement published online Aug. 25, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends middle and high schools delay the start of class to 8:30 a.m. or later. Doing so will align school schedules to the biological sleep rhythms of adolescents, whose sleep-wake cycles begin to shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty.

“Chronic sleep loss in children and adolescents is one of the most common – and easily fixable – public health issues in the U.S. today,” said pediatrician Judith Owens, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement, “School Start Times for Adolescents,” published in the September 2014 issue of Pediatrics.

“The research is clear that adolescents who get enough sleep have a reduced risk of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall better quality of life,” Dr. Owens said. “Studies have shown that delaying early school start times is one key factor that can help adolescents get the sleep they need to grow and learn.”

Many studies have documented that the average adolescent in the U.S. is chronically sleep-deprived and pathologically sleepy. A National Sleep Foundation poll found 59 percent of 6th through 8th graders and 87 percent of high school students in the U.S. were getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep on school nights."

To continue depriving our kids of adequate sleep is unconscionable.

You can help make this very important change by signing this petition.

Thank you!