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Delayed start?

We asked readers whether they would support a later start time for high school students, to accommodate their sleep rhythms. Here’s what you had to say.

Yes. I have always wondered why we give youth at this age tons and tons of homework and then wonder, besides all the other things they have to do after school, why they are tired in the morning. We are only conditioning them to work overtime with no compensation and to devalue self-care — which starts with a good night’s sleep.

— Crystal Brown, St. Louis Park

Yes! Lack of sleep is linked to obesity, not to mention trouble concentrating. Younger children are naturally earlier risers (in general) and adolescents catch up in the morning. It doesn’t make sense to not pay attention to something as simple as this that would make so much difference in the quality of children’s lives.

— Kathy Oaks, St. Paul

Yes, that way they don’t have so much time to get in trouble in the afternoon before the parents get home!

— Brenda Martin, Champlin

Nope. We should prepare them for life after high school which means working or college… they are old enough to learn to go to bed to take care of themselves.

— Lynn McKinlay, Eden Prairie


Definitely. The science clearly shows that kids’ sleep patterns shift later in adolescence. Why fight biology and risk poor performance (not to mention misery) when there’s an easy solution?

— Emily Sohn, Minneapolis


No. Many students have after school commitments and a later start time will interfere.

— Mitsy Lutz, Eagan

No, I believe that the later you sleep the more tired you actually become or are when you get up. Getting up early is really important so that adolescents learn that if you get up early you may feel a little tired but taking a shower and eating a good breakfast will make you feel like conquering the world. It also is important to teach high school kids that when they eventually reach the time when they enter the workforce, their companies aren’t going to hand out accommodations for individual sleeping patterns.

— Michelle Cody, Chaska

No, I do not believe that they should start high school later. I believe children should be in school at least nine hours as well. Our education system and its accommodations are allowing our children to be lazy where their education is concerned.

— Kara Woods, St. Paul

Yes. The kids in our neighborhood have to get on the bus at 7 a.m. Way too early!

— Donna Krouss, Golden Valley

If the studies show that adolescents need more sleep, then schools should accommodate this to enable a better learning environment.

— Corinna Hastings, Blaine

Yes. I believe that kids get burnt out with all of the homework and extra curricular activities.

— Stephanie Naughton, Hudson

No, high school is a precursor to college, then the workplace. They need to get in the habit of going to bed, getting up and organizing their time. They’re not babies anymore!

— Monica Jones, Prior Lake

If a child’s learning can be enhanced by starting school later in the day, then I do think the timing should be moved out. As parents, we need to give children every opportunity to learn and thrive.

— Jill Petitt, St. Paul

Yes. Why fight nature? Teen physiological development would indicate that their collective “biorhythm” would be to start late — so start later to give them a better fighting chance. Seems like a “no brainer.”

— Julie Friedman, Minneapolis

Weigh in on holiday gift giving: How much is too much/too little when it comes to gifts? Email your thoughts to [email protected], for an upcoming issue.

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We asked readers of our weekly e-newsletter, Minnesota Parent This Week, what they thought the legal drinking age should be. Your answers were split almost evenly between keeping 21 and lowering it to 18 or 19.

21 seems to be an appropriate age. Gives everyone a chance to mature and experience life before being able to legally consume alcohol.
— Mark Jenson, Minneapolis

21… and better enforced.
— Christina Welte, Bloomington

I think 21 is the perfect age. It truly stops some younger ones from drinking because they are brought up with a conscience. I knew many friends who were younger than I that refused to go to the bars with me when I was 21. They were very afraid of getting caught by the police.
— Amy Ludwig, White Bear Lake

The drinking age should be no less than 21. Kids need to focus on high school and college before they need to be going out drinking in the bars or buying alcohol from stores.
— Angela Spinler, Osseo

I think the current age of 21 is just fine. It definitely should not be any younger than that since many young adults are still maturing and learning and making life mistakes to learn from. At least at the age of 21, most young people have the three years after 18 to grow, learn from their mistakes and mature a little bit more so that they are more prepared to handle to responsibilities with legally drinking.
— Lauryn Larson, Circle Pines

It should stay 21. As we all know, kids can already get their hands on it before that age. Why would we make it easier for them!?
— Judith Grams, West St. Paul

19. Out of high school, but mature enough to move out, get a job, vote, go to college, and prepare for life. Responsible alcohol use, like the other lessons parents are responsible for teaching, should be learned.
— Ann Rakow, Brooklyn Park

It seemed like when I turned 21, I became less fond of alcohol. When I was younger, it was all part of the thrill of getting caught and adventure into the unknown. So, short answer: 18 years old.
— Karen Fostervold, West St. Paul

18. If you are old enough to die for your country, you are old enough to drink. Kids will still get it, only in more dangerous ways. This way, they can get cut off. It seemed to work for the older generation. There will still be stupidity however.
— Danielle McTarnahan, St. Paul

19. Until my son reaches 19. Then I’ll say 30.
— Laura Mills, St. Paul