Oak Ridge

Debate: Should Oak Ridge Get Rid of First Period?

Oak Ridge Should Get Rid of First Period!

by Ryan Bicocca

Should Oak Ridge have a first period? No, because the school is putting safety, test scores, and attendance later on their list of priorities.

Schools put students at risk by starting school early.   In a study done by Dr. Fred Danner and Dr. Barbara Phillips, they found that teen driving accidents dropped by 16.5% when the schools started an hour later. This means that over 400 teen deaths could have been avoided in 2016 alone just by pushing school start time back. These lives are worth a lot more than letting students go home early on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

With a later start time, students will also get home later in the day. This means that they will have less unsupervised time before their parents get home. While students might like having this time home alone, lots of issues can arise. A study showed that one hour less of sleep a night led to higher rates of suicide and substance abuse. This hour could easily be given to most students by getting rid of first period. This mixed with more time home alone will only lead to an increase in student deaths.

On tests taken by 15 year-olds, England scored higher in math, reading, and science than the U.S. England’s schools start between 8:45 and 9:00 a.m. compared to America’s average start time of 8:03 a.m. This correlation shows that a later start time would benefit students by increasing their test scores and giving them an advantage over other countries for college selection. Students from the US also would have an advantage once they enter the workplace because they know more of the information that they were taught.

When the start time was moved to 8:30, a school district in Ohio found that attendance rose 15% from the previous year. 15% of a class of 30 is almost 5 students. The later start time made it so almost 5 students more came to each class. This shows how a later start time benefits students because they come to school more which lets them gain more from their high school education, and have more options for college. Getting into a better college will allow the students to have a better job and a better life.


Works Cited

Desliver, Drew. “U.S. Students’ Academic Achievement Still Lags That of Their Peers in Many Other Countries.” Fact Tank, Pew Research Center, 15 Feb. 2017, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/15/u-s-students-internationally-math-science/. Accessed 11 Sept. 2018.

“Good Reasons Why School Should Start Later.” Education Degree, www.educationdegree.com/articles/why-start-school-later. Accessed 11 Sept. 2018.

“Why Change?” Start School Later, www.startschoollater.net/why-change.html. Accessed 11 Sept. 2018.

Winsler, A., et al. “Sleepless in Fairfax.” Pub Med, US National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25178930. Accessed 11 Sept. 2018.


Oak Ridge Should Keep First Period!

by Zoe Smith

At Oak Ridge High School, students can choose to start their day at 7:25 a.m. or 8:30 a.m.  No students are required to have a first period, but many choose to because it is convenient for parking and nice for early risers.  Also, having a first period gives students the option to not have a seventh period so they can get out of school and start their homework earlier.  Starting school and getting out earlier means finishing homework and going to sleep earlier. This means that even though they start school at 7:25 a.m., students with a 1-6 can actually get more sleep than students with a 2-7 because they get off two hours and twenty-five minutes early on wednesdays and fridays.  There are students, though, with all seven periods. That can be a lot, but it is completely optional.

Getting rid of Oak Ridge’s first period would hurt more students than it would help.  There would be absolutely no reason for any student to be happy about it because no student is being forced by the school to have a first period.  Yes, first period is an hour and five minutes earlier than the suggested starting time for schools, but the official start time, when students are required to start school, is 8:30 a.m.  There is a bill that says middle schools and highs schools must start at or later than 8:30 a.m. If this bill passes, it will not affect Oak Ridge’s first period because 8:30 a.m. is the official starting time, not 7:25 a.m.

Students feel lucky when they get a first period because most want one, but not everyone can get one because there are not enough spots for everyone.  I tried to get a first period my Freshman and Sophomore year, but all of the spots were taken both times because they are in high demand. Many people have experienced the same disappointment, including some that I personally know.  

Licensed students may feel like they have to take a first period to get parking, but it is not necessary.  There are still parking spots available for students without a first period (if you get there on time) and even if there were no spots left in either of the parking lots, people can still park on the street or at CSD.  There are lots of places to park so there is no reason to feel pressured to take a first period for that reason.

Some parents with students that can not drive yet have to be at work way before second/third period starts.  Instead of just dropping their kid off at school with nothing to do but sit there in the cold, their kid can decide to have a first period and spend that time getting credit for school and learning instead of wasting their time sitting outside or in the library and waiting for second/third period to start.  

If Oak Ridge High School got rid of first period, getting to school in the morning and parking would be hectic.  Every student would be arriving to school at the same time. There would be more wrecks because there would be a lot more cars driving around the school, before and after.  Students are new drivers and do not know how to be completely safe or watchful yet and adults are just trying to drop their kids off and go to work so it would be quite stressful.  Also, getting out of the parking lot is already a journey. If every student and parent tried to get out of the parking lot at the same time every day, It would turn a ten minute trip home to at least a thirty minute trip.  Also, students and parents would be more aggressive when going into (to pick up their kids) and out of the parking lot and people would be much less likely to let people out of their parking spots because everyone would just be trying to get out of there and get home.

Getting rid of the first period at Oak Ridge High School would not be beneficial to any student.  


Works Cited

Portantino, Senator, and Senator Pan. “SB-328 Pupil Attendance: School Start Time.” California Legislative Information, version 9/07/18 – Enrolled, 7 Sept. 2018, leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB328.

“Schools Start Too Early.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, edited by Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs, Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs, 30 July 2018, www.cdc.gov/features/school-start-times/index.html. Accessed 30 July 2018.




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