Letter: Early school hours put kids at risk
I wish to express my extreme disagreement with School Superintent Title's and the Board of Education's decision to change the start time for the high schools to 7:30 a.m. I don't think they looked at a calendar, nor the clock, nor the bus schedules in their haste to save $500,000.
We now have Warde students waiting at bus stops in the dark at 6:25 a.m. for a one-hour ride to the school. If you consult a calendar or your iPhone, you will see that the sun will continue rising later and later, until about Dec. 27 to Jan. 7, when it will rise at 7:25 a.m. So the kids not only will be getting up in the absolute dark, but at the worst time of year will be waiting for busses in the dark and arriving at school in the dark or at sunrise.
This is really unconscionable for professional educators to change the start time without any real public notice or discussion. I was told by Mr. Title that this was done at some budget meeting to save $500,000 by revamping the bus schedule.
This is not the way to do this business, at budget meetings that parents don't attend. And to do it for an ephemeral savings that will disappear over time as the bus company increases its rates is just outrageous.
Parents should demand that actions that affect the health and well-being of our students should not be taken unilaterally by the board. Parents should demand an immediate rollback of the start time to 7:50 or 8 a.m. Ideally, the high school and elementary school times should be reversed, with the elementary kids going in early and the high school students starting later. As the father of three kids who have gone thru the Fairfield school system, I am glad my last one is a senior now; I don't care for the leadership of Mr. Title or the board and am glad to be done with them. It's the current and future parents who will have to deal with the effects on the adolescent brain, which is now fogged and befuddled beyond belief in the early hours of the morning.
If any learning can take place under these conditions, I'd be very surprised. To get to school by 7:30 a.m., kids have to get up at least an hour before, and for those unfortunates on the busses, even earlier than that. I take a 6:09 a.m. train from Fairfield every day, and I pity the poor kids who are also shlepping themselves thru the morning ritual to get to the bus stops. The health and welfare of our children should be the first goal of the board and superintendent, not the last.