Wider view was needed in coverage of school hours
To the editor:
I have been continuously disappointed in the narrow scope the Gazette gave the debate over changing school starting times in the Amherst Regional School District. In a recent article on switching the start times of elementary and secondary students, it seems the only major issue was student athletics. While I agree that the substantial effect on athletics (doing away with several programs, necessitating later practice times for existing programs) is a major concern, other parts of this story had been left out.
The decision to “flip and switch” school start times would have had a profound effect on pre-kindergarten and elementary students, families and elementary educators in this district. Those of us who are working parents (I imagine that is most of us), would have been faced with placing our young children in afterschool care.
While there is a wealth of quality aftercare available, I am saddened to think of my young child spending more time away from his family. In addition, this care costs money, which is very tight for many of us. There were other considerations as well: the potential for young elementary children who will need to walk to school in the dark during the shortest days of winter, the seventh-graders aged 11 to 13 who may have found themselves waiting at home alone for the bus to school after their parents went to work and the shortened amount of time students would spend with their families across the board.
This was a complicated issue with many variables beyond athletics! I wish the Gazette had taken more time to consider the effects of this potential shift on the younger students in our district.