Letter: Student health falls off priority list

To the Editor:

Ridgefield Start School Later, the children's health advocacy group, is saddened by the Board of Education’s decision to abandon its plan for healthy start times implementation. As a result, Ridgefield High School remains in the scant 10% of high schools nationally with a start time of 7:30 a.m. or earlier, and Ridgefield’s elementary students continue to have start and end times that are not developmentally appropriate.

We encourage the board to hire a new superintendent with the necessary vision, educational leadership, and devotion to student health to correct unhealthy conditions in our schools.

Start School Later Ridgefield will continue to advocate for children's health and the developmentally appropriate bell times their bodies require. Ridgefield students deserve the same level of support as other students nationally.

Every major medical and mental health organization, including the AMA, AAP, APA, and CDC, recommends that adolescents start school at 8:30 a.m. or later. Healthy start times insure students get the opportunity to get the sleep required by their biology, and reduce rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, car accidents, obesity, drug and alcohol use, and engagement in risky behaviors. This is a public health initiative with proven results for which schools are responsible.   

Colleen Broderick

Start School Later, Ridgefield Chapter