After several years of fighting, and after being vetoed twice, last Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 328 that will allow middle school and middle school classes in California Start later.

SB 328, written by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-San Fernando), makes California the first state in the nation that asks high schools to begin classes no earlier than 8 a.m. and to high schools starting at 8:30 a.m.

Margarita Linares, mother of an 11th grade student at Van Nuys High School, said the schedule change will not change the difficulty of waking him up early.

“If it's for my son, he sleeps all morning. But when I finish high school you have to get up early to go to work, ”said the Van Nuys resident. “I think it is better that they get used to it since they go to school. I don't know, I don't see much reason for the time change. ”

Ángeles González, another mother who has a child in high school and another in elementary school said that for her the change means nothing since her children enter at 9 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. respectively. Both go to Buena Park schools in Orange County.

“(For me) There is no difference because children never want to sleep eight hours. If you ask (my high school son) he says that if he sleeps eight hours he feels more tired, ”Gonzalez said. “In high school he asked to enter period 0 to enter at 8 a.m. (instead of 9 a.m.), ”Gonzalez said.

With his signature, Governor Newsom supports medical studies that reveal that teenagers usually cannot fall asleep early due to their development. This keeps them up late and it is hard for them to wake up early.

The most needy will benefit

Although the law focused on sleep patterns and brain chemistry so that adolescents are healthier and perform better in school, for some this news is very good but for different reasons.

Ron Gochez, a teacher at Maya Angelou High School in South Los Angeles, said several of his students do extra work after or before school to help their families. Southern Los Angeles is considered one of the areas with less resources and more families of color and immigrants.

“Several of my students work night or early morning shifts. They barely sleep. Although 30 extra minutes is not much, it is a little more time for them to rest, ”said Gochez, assuring that among his students some work as day laborers in Home Depot on weekends, others work in factories, family businesses or distribute newspapers for dawns.

"Some more have to leave their younger siblings in their schools before they have to walk to their first class of the day and for many students, the additional 30 minutes will help them not to be late for class," Gochez said.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), considered the second largest district in the nation, said in a statement that it took no stance on SB 328.

"Now that it has been signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, we will closely assess the impacts on our schools before the law takes effect for the 2022-2023 academic year," the statement said.

Senator Portantino said in a statement that with his signature, Governor Newsom showed a poignant and insightful understanding of the importance of objective research by exercising strong leadership by placing the health and well-being of teenagers first.

“Generations of children will come to appreciate this historic day and our governor for taking bold steps,” said Portantino. “Our children face a public health crisis. Changing at a later start time will improve academic performance and save lives because it helps our children be healthier. ”

Last year, Senator Portantino sent a similar bill to Governor Brown. Unfortunately, the governor vetoed the law.

The SB 328 law set to take effect in the 2022-2023 school year exempts rural districts due to transportation and the "zero periods" that are optional in some schools.


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