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New Jersey Hitting Snooze on School Start Times
By Colleen S. Heckman on August 21, 2019

Earlier this month, Governor Murphy signed a bill creating a four-year pilot program to study the effects of a later start time for New Jersey high schools.  This bill comes after a 2014 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics that reported sleep deprivation in adolescents with one contributing factor being early school start times.

The Commissioner of Education will be selecting five school districts to participate in the pilot program to implement school start times of no earlier than 8:30 a.m.  The selection will include a cross-section of urban, suburban, and rural areas of the State and will also include at least one high school in the northern, central, and southern regions of the State.  School districts, with a high school consisting of grades nine through 12, can volunteer to participate in the pilot program by submitting an application to the Commissioner.

There is no doubt that the later start time will significantly impact family schedules, school transportation, after-school activities, including sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities, and after-school jobs.  School districts chosen for this pilot program will have to navigate logistical challenges to implement this pilot-program. 

If the pilot program results are positive and lead to later start times becoming law, districts will need to partner with their attorneys as the navigate the changes. Parker McCay's Public Schools and Education attorneys will continue to follow the developments in this important program.

The content of this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion. You should consult a lawyer concerning your specific situation and any specific legal question you may have.

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