To the Editor:

This is in response to the “resident's” letter. I was unable to attend the meeting on Jan 21, so I am not aware that board members were being ”verbally attacked.” As a parent of three children in the school system, I am questioning why this sudden need for earlier start times has been brought up in 2019 and the urgency to get it started for the upcoming school year.  

I think people are questioning how nine people can make such a quick decision that will affect roughly 5,000 students and parents. Yes, we’ve heard and read the studies showing later start times can benefit children in some ways. Have we researched or asked the children why they go to bed so late? Have any of the school districts that implemented this already shown how many students benefited from it? Is there any study to show that the children are using that extra time to actually get eight to 10 hours of sleep? I don’t remember being notified that our school district’s children were performing poorly, or that there’s been a rise in suicide attempt, that we need to implement such a system. We have a huge district with a growing number of children in the AI program. Many of our HS children are in honors and AP classes graduating with very high GPAs and getting into excellent colleges and universities. Why do we doubt our children’s performance even if they don’t get enough sleep? Are we not ranked high enough as the top schools in NJ or in the country?  How is this preparing them for college?

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Did we consider other factors that can attribute to a child’s mental state? Has there been any studies done to show the impact of classrooms with a 30:1 ratio. Is the curriculum too difficult? Or what’s going on at home, isn’t that where it all starts? Maybe there are some children who want to do more that just focus on school. Some need to make money to buy a car, and want to be involved in sports and after school activities. How will pulling a child out of last period early to get to a game benefit them when they’re not in class to learn the lesson of the day? 

Now the planning board has approved the Center of Excellence with more “Luxury Apartments” being built. Who’s moving into these apartments? Are they a single parent or family with children?

Where will these children fit into our school system? How will the district handle overcrowding in our schools? Who will pay for the additional busing? Will my taxes go up to pay for this change that we have no guarantee will work? 

Children that get to sleep in all summer does their mental state change for the better?

When will parents realize that no matter how much the schools or the government tries to better our children, they can’t!  You can add vegetable to their lunch but you can’t make them eat it. You can change the time, but you can’t control how they will use it. The child themselves is the only one who can decide how much effort they want to put into school. The children that will succeed the most are the ones already with school as their top priority. 

So to the “resident,” no I am not happy about how the board is ready to jump into this. I do appreciate them volunteering their time, however I don’t know why they wouldn’t want answers to all these questions before voting yes? I could see why some might question their motive!

Sincerely,

Rose Tierney