Doctors oppose plan to start school earlier

- More than 30 Hillsborough County pediatricians have signed a letter in opposition to starting high school classes earlier. They cite studies that show teenagers who don't get enough sleep suffer more from depression and obesity and are involved in more vehicle crashes.

In 2014, an American Academy of Pediatrics report recommended that teenagers get between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep per night and that classes to begin at 8:30 or later.

"We would love for it to start at 8:30 or later, but definitely starting at 7:15 is not a good idea," said Dr. Antoinette Spoto-Cannons, president of the Hillsborough County Pediatrics Society.

They hope to present their letter to the school board at their Tuesday meeting.

But school board chairperson Cindy Start said it would be virtually impossible to start high school classes at 8:30. She says, because of bussing, someone has to start early and they don't want younger students waiting for busses in the dark.

The school board put off a plan to start high school earlier at 7:15 next year following negative reaction from some parents, but they're still planning the earlier schedule for high schools in the 2018-2019 school year.

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