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Washington schools need later start times, since they keep waking me up

It’s a bit odd that sleep is crucial to children’s development, and yet throughout Washington we give them the same start times as farmers or your local morning zoo radio show. Numerous studies have shown that later start times can lead to an improvement in grades, better mental health, and a decrease in drug and alcohol usage.

But I don’t actually care about the kids, I just keep getting woken up early by the school in my neighborhood. Here’s what appears to be the schedule at the school a few blocks away from my apartment:

7:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. : Screaming
7:45 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. : Yelling
8:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. : Screaming and Yelling
8:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. : Some sort of thing involving drums and screaming
8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. : Loud gym teacher who clearly hates his life

And everyone one of these events begins with a deafening PA announcement that sounds like what you’d hear in a dystopian science fiction movie.

Schools don’t always make ideal neighbors, and living near one is like living near a frat house that only throws parties at 7:45 in the morning. There’s little I can do about it, but it’s fun to needlessly complain: You can’t call the cops on a school or bang on the wall with a broom or knock on the door and ask them to be quiet. Schools have so many doors I wouldn’t know which one to knock on. I also can’t go over there and yell at them to keep it down because then I’m yelling at kids and suddenly I’m the bad guy, not that this article hasn’t already created that impression.

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Imagine a neighbor who’s not only really loud, but announces every 15 minutes on a PA speaker what they’ll be doing, and that somebody needs to come inside. “We’re going to be playing beer pong now. Also Jeff, your girlfriend is calling. What do you want me to tell her?”

Granted, I know there are people reading this who think that schools make wonderful neighbors, for they raise our children and show them the way or something, and how can I be so selfish? Just because I want to sleep a little later doesn’t mean that all 5,000 plus schools in the state of Washington should have later start times. Doesn’t it, though? No? I feel like I’m losing people.

If I were a parent or student and/or had the ability to step outside my narrow, selfish bubble, I might have a different opinion. But I already graduated from school and put my time in, so there’s no need for me to be rising this early to the lovely dulcet tones of screams and yells and “He hit me!”

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Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Sleep Foundation are totally on my side, though their studies on later start times are concerned about the kids getting more sleep for health-related reasons, and not a bum in his thirties who doesn’t like getting up before 8 a.m. Imagine how much better this article would have been had I slept properly last night (not much).

So please, won’t somebody think of the children? Because they keep waking me up in the morning. I know they’re our future, but that future can start 30 minutes later.

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