Not on a school night!

Hannah Kinstle, Opinion editor

I recently became aware of an issue that I think greatly impacts high school students. Teenagers have been confronted with the problem of getting home later than anticipated during the school week.

This affects teens in multiple different ways.

A lot of jobs that students have require them to stay at work past 10 p.m.

One junior boy said that where he works, on weeknights, he commonly has to stay until 10 p.m. or later. Another sophomore girl on our newspaper staff said that by the time they finished cleaning up at her work, she is leaving between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m.

Getting home this late impacts our ability to complete homework and limits our getting enough sleep to make it through the next day alert and ready to learn.

When you have a job that takes up your whole afternoon and evening, there is not nearly enough time for homework, unless you stay up later, which then causes students to be sleep deprived.
Workers aren’t the only culprits deprived of study time and sleep. Coaches and those who schedule games are often to blame, too.

In the winter season, our basketball teams often play in what are called quad games, meaning four games in one night. The junior varsity girls play at 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. followed by the JV boys, then varsity girls, and then, finally, the varsity boys.

The varsity boys’ game often doesn’t end until after 10:00 p.m. either, and then they often have to travel. It’s not unheard of for there to be two quad nights in a row on a school night.

Varsity baseball and softball games in the spring often begin at 7:00 p.m. or later when the weather warms up, keeping these athletes out until late as well. And both these sports often play three games a week late in the season.

If all the soccer coaches could get together in our conference to begin soccer games at 6:00 instead of 6:30 p.m., then the basketball, baseball, and softball coaches ought to be able to do the same and place a greater value on study and sleep instead of ticket sales and the allure of “playing under the lights.”

If teams want to play late games on Friday, that’s fine. For parents who struggle to get to games by 6:00 p.m. , that means one night a week they are sure to get to see their kid’s whole game. And Friday games are often attended by more students, so those nights can used to bring in more money, not school nights.

Employers can keep teens late on Friday and Saturday to clean up and close down operations, but on Sunday through Thursday night, let’s have workers out of high school, assistant and shift managers and other employees staying late.

I personally have to get up at 5 a.m. so that I don’t miss the bus, and I’m not alone.

So, if I am going to sleep every night at midnight, then that’s only five hours of sleep when the average teenager should be getting at the very least seven and a half hours.

Therefore, I think employers and sports coaches should evaluate and change the times students are getting home.
The old adage, “Not on a school night!” should apply to coaches and employeers, too.