Florida Senate Approves Bill to Start School Days Later
Tuesday, the Florida Senate approved a bill that would mandate later start times for middle and high school students in the state.
The bill, known as House Bill 733, received overwhelming support with 38 votes in favor and only two votes against.
If the bill becomes law, middle school start times would be set no earlier than 8:00 AM, while high school start times would be set no earlier than 8:30 AM.
The aim is to allow students to get a few extra hours of sleep, which can have a positive impact on their health and academic performance.
However, not everyone is in favor of the proposed changes.
One of the opposing votes in the Senate came from Senator Geraldine Thompson of Windermere, who expressed concerns about the availability of buses and the need for additional funding to support more bus drivers.
Thompson emphasized the importance of addressing these logistical issues before implementing later start times.
Supporters of the bill argue that later start times could help students by allowing them to get more rest and arrive at school more alert and focused.
Cynthia Pettit, a mother, believes the change could have a positive impact on her children’s morning routine, as she remembers struggling with early mornings when she was in high school.
To ensure that parents, students, and coaches are informed about the benefits of a later school start time, the bill mandates that school boards must educate stakeholders about the health, safety, and academic impacts of sleep deprivation on middle and high school students.
While the bill has been approved by both the House and the Senate, it will not take effect immediately.
According to the bill’s text, the new start times would come into effect by July 20, 2026, allowing time to address concerns and make necessary preparations.
At the time of reporting, there was no response from some of the senators who voted in favor of the bill.
The bill will now move forward for further consideration and potential implementation.