School law may mean earlier wake-ups for students, parents

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Some schools may be starting school earlier this coming year. Foti Kallergis explains.

A new state law may force some parents and students to wake up earlier to go to school.

House Bill 2160 will go in to affect this August and will require students to attend school by the minute. Districts were required to complete 180 days of instruction. HB2160 requires districts to log 75,600 minutes of instruction. Some districts have chosen to ring the bell as much as 15 minutes earlier for some schools to meet the requirement.

"A nightmare. They don't want to be woken up. It's too early," said Sally Guarin whose children attend school in Lamar Consolidated ISD. "Tears, tantrums, yes. And that's just before we even come down the stairs."

Guarin says she's not sure how she will get her kids up earlier than she does. Some health officials warn an earlier wake up time for kids could, over time, cause some serious sleep disorders.

"We as a nation are sleep deprived," said Dr. Richard Castriotta, Memorial Hermann Hospitals director of the sleep disorders clinic in Houston. "And extra 15 minutes in bed during the times when most children are in deep sleep or in REM sleep, instead placing them into a classroom where they're supposed to be trying to learn, I think is unfair to children."

Dr. Castriotta said grades will ultimately suffer, and warned that students who chronically lose sleep can develop night terrors, sleepwalking and even bed-wetting. In class, those students can exhibit signs of ADHD or Hyperactivity along with a number of other health problems.

Guarin said her son already sleepwalks, and she's not sure what she will do.

"I'm not sure how this new schedule is going to work," said Guarin. "I just think it's completely unnecessary."

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