To the Editor:

It is beyond discouraging to see that while the Board of Education acknowledges the scientific and medical consensus that an early high school start time is significantly damaging to the health and well-being of our students, they’re refusing to show leadership and enact healthy start times for the 2017-18 school year.

As Sharon D’Orso observed, the board is just “kicking the can” into the future. This needless delay will continue to impose irreparable damage and elevated risks on our high school students. A study published in February 2017 found that early start times diminish brain growth in teens. Additionally, the incontrovertible scientific evidence unambiguously establishes that later high school start times result in statistically significant reductions in substance abuse, traffic fatalities, depression, anxiety, and mental health issues among high school students, and a concomitant statistically significant improvement in academic performance. So the next time a student wraps himself around a tree, has her stomach pumped in the emergency room, or worse, our collective despair will be exacerbated by the nagging suspicion that BOE’s failure to implement later start times now may have contributed to the tragedy.

Meredith Harris