City Councilors want Boston to join the ranks of communities pushing back high-school start times to give sleep-deprived students a better jump on the day.
The council unanimously approved holding a hearing on the idea of starting high school as late as 8:30 a.m. Nearly half the city's high schools currently start at 7:20 or 7:30 a.m., councilors said.
At-large Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George, a former teach at East Boston High School, says giving kids even just an extra hour of shuteye could reduce tardiness, absenteeism and even obesity and depression.
Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain), who sponsored the hearing request with Essaibi-George, said that when Nauset High School on the Cape pushed its starting time back "tardiness fell and grades rose, almost immediately." He said medical studies have shown teens need nine hours of sleep a night - but he doubted any in Boston get anywhere near that much.
Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury), chairman of the council's education committee, added there's a uniquely Boston reason to start school later: Now that almost all secondary students have to find their own way to school, they need more time because "the MBTA, it sometimes breaks down."