West Hartford

West Hartford School Board Backs Statewide Later School Start Times

The effort is essentially a symbolic step in hopes the state will act.

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The West Hartford school board is officially throwing its support behind later school start times.

The Board of Education voted five to one to back a resolution that calls for state lawmakers to require middle and high schools statewide to start at 8:30 a.m. or later.

That caused a bit of a celebration for those who have been working for years to bring about that kind of change.

“I’m really thrilled. I’m so grateful,” said Sarah Raskin of West Hartford. “I feel like tonight’s vote indicates that the board recognizes how important this issue is.”

Supporters believe students would benefit by not having to get to middle or high school around 7:30 a.m. like they do now in West Hartford.

“I witnessed the impact first hand on my teens who have trouble falling asleep at a reasonable hour, a grownup reasonable hour. So getting up at 6:30 is just brutal,” said Mary Fleischli of West Hartford.

In November 2018, the board tabled a plan to change the times here.

That followed criticism which was echoed on Wednesday from the increased cost to a wish to keep things as they are.

“Somehow everyone in this room survived getting up early for school,” said Chris Torino of West Hartford.

While opponents questioned the timing and purpose of the resolution, proponents pointed out the potential benefits of a statewide approach versus going alone, including the impact on after school activities.

Though for some the fight here goes on.

“While I appreciate the push on the statewide level and I think there are a lot of good arguments for that I also don’t want us in West Hartford to be waiting for that change to happen,” said Raskin.

There has been talk among some state lawmakers about requiring later start times.

They argue it also leads to students being more successful at school.

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