New Tennessee Bill Aims To Change When Students Go To School

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A new proposed law in Tennessee would change the times students go to school, a change that many advocates have been asking for over the past few years.

According to News Channel 5, two Nashville lawmakers, Rep. John Ray Clemmons and Sen. Brenda Gilmore, filed a state bill on Wednesday (January 19) that aims to push back the start times for public middle and high school in Tennessee.

As it currently stands, some public high schools start class as early as 7:05 a.m. Under the bill, high schools would begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m. while the earliest start times for middle schools would be 8 a.m. Public elementary schools were not mentioned in the bill.

The debate surrounding later school start times was ignited yet again a couple months ago when a school bus was involved in a deadly early morning crash before school. Advocates like the "Start School Later Nashville" group said buses driving around while it is still dark outside could pose a safety risk. Additionally, they believe the change would allow students to more sleep for better brain function.

Following news of the proposed bill, Start School Later Nashville called the move "huge news" that aligned with start times recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the American Academy of Pediatricians and the Surgeon General for teen health.

If the bill is approved, the changes would go into effect during the 2023-2024 school year.

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