The national non-profit Start School Later is challenging school officials to recognize “Walk to School Day” on October 7 by walking to school or the bus stop with their earliest starting students – typically middle or high school students.
Traditionally, school officials honor this international event by walking to school after daybreak with elementary children, but this does not create an accurate picture. “For many teens, walking to school means navigating dark, sidewalk-less roads at 6 a.m. Photos of this reality would highlight the need for safe school hours and safe routes to school that make walking a genuine possibility,” states Start School Later Executive Director Dr. Terra Ziporyn Snider.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of School Nurses, the Society of Pediatric Nurses, and most recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called for middle and high schools to start after 8:30 a.m. due to changes in sleep that occur during puberty. Start School Later endorses the recommendations made by these respected health groups, and advocates for school start times, at minimum, after 8 a.m. for all grade levels.