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Chesterfield Parents continue to push for later school start times

Posted at 10:55 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 00:24:44-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield school leaders held a meeting Tuesday night and one of the big issues discussed was changing school start times for high school students.

High School senior, Abigail Gainsworth admits it can be difficult getting up early for school every morning.

"You have to drink a lot of coffee to keep yourself awake," she said.

She and other students in Chesterfield County start their school day at 7:20 a.m and a group of parents in Chesterfield say high school students having to be in class that early is an issue.

They've created a Facebook page called Start School Later Chesterfield and a petition to push back start times.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a position statement recommending that all middle school and high schools push back their start times to 8:30 at the earliest," said parent, Dr. Sarah Sneed.

Dr. Sneed said buses start picking students up at 5:40 a.m.

"If you have to wake up at 4:30 or 5:00 in order to be standing outside in the dark at 5:40, you have a chronic sleep deprivation and health professionals know there's a whole range of problems that come from that," she said.

On Tuesday, the school board heard a presentation about different options to eventually push school times back.

One of those options is to start high school at 7:45 a.m.

Spokesman Shawn Smith said the main concern is money for extra buses and bus drivers.

Smith said there are no funds provided in this budget year for pushing back times, but the board is continuing the conversation.

Abigail told CBS 6 she believes there are positive and negatives to starting school later.

She said while many are tired, a lot of the students want to make sure there's time for after school sports or even jobs.