If This Bill Passes, Lenape Will Start an Hour Later

Let me paint you a picture: you are in fourth grade, loving life and not having to go to school until 9:30 a.m. And then BAM! You graduate elementary school and move on to upper elementary school, now having to wake up two hours earlier because school starts before the birds wake up. Except, this is not just a story, this is real life. And you’ve been doing this for the past couple of years.

Okay, that story might have been a little dramatic. But still, if you’re like me, you probably don’t enjoy waking up before the sun does. After waking up early for so many years, you’ve hopefully gotten used to it. But what if I told you that you could stop waking up early and go back to your elementary school days? If all goes according to plan, you might be able to do that. 

Around the beginning of April, two of New Jersey’s lawmakers introduced a bill that, if passed, requires all New Jersey high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. If this bill is passed, it will go into effect for the 2024-2025 school year. Sorry to younger siblings, but this bill will not affect elementary or middle schools. They can still reap the benefits of it when they enroll in high school, though!

In order for this bill to go into effect, it has to be passed by the state Senate and Assembly and then has to be signed by Governor Murphy. While one cannot know for sure what the outcome will be, Governor Murphy has stated that he is open to the proposal. We just have to see if the bill will make it to his desk. 

When I first heard about this bill, my first thought was about the extra hour of sleep. While this is a definite positive, don’t forget about the possible negatives. With school starting an hour late, it’s possible that it will also end an hour later to make up for the lost time. The question is, are you willing to make the trade?

I asked a variety of Lenape students whether or not they wanted this bill to pass. Out of the 32 individuals I asked, 17 said they wanted the bill to pass, while 15 do not want it to pass. I, for one, am part of the group that wants the bill to pass, because I love sleeping more than the next person. 

Now I ask you: do you want this bill to pass? Feel free to answer this question by responding to a poll on the Smoke Signal’s home page. But, regardless of your answer or the bill’s outcome, I believe we will all be able to adapt to a change if required. If there’s anything I’ve learned from these past few years, it’s that we are all very resilient people, and I have no doubt that we will adjust to any changes we face.