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Morning Bell Would Ring Later for Ohio Schools Under Legislator's Proposal

Empty school hallway
Some parents believe that students are unsafe walking or biking to school so early in the morning because it is still dark outside.

Students would start school later under legislation being proposed by a state senator from Cleveland.

The measure, proposed by State Sen. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland), follows California's passage earlier this month of similar legislation requiring schools to start later. Senator Sandra Williams' proposal would have all Ohio public schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

Williams' senior legislative aide, Kierra Branch, says that they’ve received calls from parents who like the idea. She says many parents are concerned about their children’s safety since it’s still dark when they are heading off to school. She points to a fatality in September in Columbus. A middle school student was struck and killed as she headed to school around 6:30 a.m.

Branch says there are other benefits to the proposal.

“There’s research out there that states that students need more sleep so that they can get to school and be ready for school. With starting school so early there’s been research out there about sleep deprivation for students.”

Detractors have voiced concerns about a later start time encouraging students to stay up later.

Branch is hoping that over the next few months the bill will gain some traction and they can get it introduced for its first hearing.