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Dublin School District Policies are Impairing Student Sleep and Wellness (Open Letter)

May 21, 2017

I sent the following letter to the Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees and leadership this morning after watching a compelling TED Talk on the risks of teen sleep deprivation and how the policies of many school districts, including the Dublin Unified School District, are impairing student wellness.

TO: DUSD Board of Trustees and Leadership

“Good morning – I hope everyone had a good night’s sleep, our kids are sleeping in – which is great.

“Please take 10 minutes to watch this compelling TED Talk. The data on sleep and teen health is unambiguous. ‘Wendy Troxel: Why school should start later for teens
https://go.ted.com/CyAU
“Unfortunately, DUSD and DHS policies are impairing teen sleep. We have continued to support policies that are contrary to student wellness. Specifically:
  • Zero period (7am) – 90 minutes earlier than the recommended school start time of 8:30am (there is currently a bill working through the California State legislature to ban school starting before 8:30am – it was recently approved by the Senate Education Committee).
  • Athletic teams permitted to have practices before the start of school
“For kids that live within walking distance of DHS these early start times are damaging to teen physical and mental health. For teens on the east side of Dublin the risk is amplified – for the communities farthest away add on 30 minutes of commute time. Tired teens who are now driving – because there are no bus options that early.
 
“Do the responsible thing and take the first step for the 2017-18 school year. Ban zero period and athletic practices before the start of school. Then move on to plan for period 1 starting at 8:30am as recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.”
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3 Comments
  1. Eileen Barr permalink
    May 21, 2017 11:18 am

    Thank you James! I think this would be a very beneficial change.

  2. May 21, 2017 2:38 pm

    Thank you for standing up for us. It’s about time the district stopped playing politics with its students’ academic potential.

  3. May 30, 2017 10:50 am

    Thank you, James. A few additional facts: the biggest factors in car accidents are young age and drowsy driving (because sleep deprivation of a couple of hours equates to Driving Under Influence – because the reaction and judgment is that bad when people are sleep deprived). The accidents also peak before 8am and after midnight (especially those involving pedestrians and bikes). That is the reason young drivers have a curfew not to drive in the evening, but can you imagine – we are actually forcing our kids to drive before 8am while other kids also walk and bike to school at the same time.

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