Psychiatric News: California Passes Nation’s First Law on School Start Times

Monday, January 6 2020

California is the first state to mandate later start times for its public middle and high schools, including charter schools. SB 328, signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) last fall, requires high schools to start classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and middle schools to start classes no earlier than 8 a.m. The new start times must be in place by the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year.

About three million students attend schools affected by the legislation. Nearly 80% of California schools now start before 8:30 a.m., some as early as 7 a.m.

Insufficient sleep puts children and teens at increased risk of self-harming behavior, suicide, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, inattention, substance abuse, and other mental health problems, psychiatrist Anoop Karippot, M.D., told California lawmakers considering the school start time bill last summer.

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