Washington Township considers changing start times for students

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Ind. -- Students in Washington Township may have to start getting up a little earlier next year if the district decides to push up back the start times. 

Right now, school begins at 8:20 a.m. for elementary students, but starting next year they could be going to school at 7:30 a.m. instead. 

With the tragedy in Fulton County still fresh on many parents' minds, they're worried about what could happen if their children have to sit out at the bus stops earlier in the morning. 

"There's no sidewalks in our area of the township," one mother said. "It's just not a very safe environment for our kids waiting for the school buses anyway and then it's going to be a whole hour darker, a whole hour colder - it just doesn't make sense."

Under the proposal, elementary students would start school at 7:30 a.m., high schools would start at 8:20 a.m. and middle schools would start at 9:20 a.m. 

School leaders say research shows that younger children are biologically wired to wake up earlier and have more energy for learning in the early part of the day, while delaying school for middle and high school students reduces tardiness, sleeping in class and car crash rates and improves attendance, graduation rates and standardized test scores. 

District leaders say the school board is still reviewing all implications related to hours for all levels. 

The board is scheduled to vote on the proposal on November 28. 

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