CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — More than a year ago, a study found that teens in Chesterfield had a greater chance of running off the road and crashing than teens in Henrico, attributing the cause to earlier high school start times in Chesterfield.
Since then, there’s been a push by the parent group “Start School Later Chesterfield,” and now an online petition which is hoping to get the school board to put the issue on their agenda.
“Really to do nothing is to do harm,” said parent Sarah Sneed. “We’re placing our kids at risk in so many ways.”
Sneed is not only a parent in Chesterfield, but a clinical psychologist. She helped start the petition and says studies have consistently shown that there’s a big negative impact on kids who start school earlier.
“Mentally, physically, higher risk of sports injuries and all kinds of academic problems are associated with having an earlier start times,” said Sneed.
Fellow parent Jason Lacy says his son will be driving soon and thinks earlier start times will put him and others at risk once he gets his license.
“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” he said of later start times. “I do have a high schooler myself and I’m up at 5:30 every morning getting him ready, helping him get out the door for school and he’s exhausted when he gets home. “Especially being tired, driving and being tired, new drivers, it’s not a good idea for them to be tired when they’re driving,” said Lacy.
“I don’t want to see this issue go from being something we’re warned about to something that’s a tragedy for our community,” said Sneed.
We reached out to Chesterfield County Public Schools for a response to the petition. An official only said that a decision had not yet been made.