New law causes strain on Downey Unified parents & staff

Downey+Unified+Downey+versus+Warren+High+School+football+game+in+2019.+Photo+credit%3A+Clarissa+Arceo

Downey Unified Downey versus Warren High School football game in 2019. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo

Clarissa Arceo, Community Editor

After a letter releasing the new bell schedule for the Fall 2022-23 school year was sent out via email, Downey Unified parents and staff were drawn to discussion on Positively Downey, a group page on Facebook.

Sparking conversation, member Christian Guerrero posted a discussion forum on the page Tuesday night, where he asked others if they knew why bell schedules were changing for DUSD.

Over 100 comments were made on the post, and many expressed how unhappy they- and their children- were with these changes.

“Believe it or not, my high school junior is not happy, he’s an early bird!” Downey resident Brenda Quezada said.

Some parents said that this new change would clash with their everyday schedule and would cause an increase in stress and traffic.

“This isn’t good for us working parents,” member Sol Rojas wrote, “I start work at 7:45 a.m.- Being a working parent is becoming harder and harder. Getting out later in the day will only force us to rush into the rest of our day!”

Carolyn Booth, a bus driver for ABCUSD, said that one of their schools will be starting as late as 9:30 a.m.

 

Booth said, “For bus drivers, it’s gonna make getting home for all of us really late!”

Teachers and staff from surrounding schools and [school] districts mentioned that some schools were already implementing this change.

Paramount Unified Schools are already implementing the new law,” member Paige Fuenmayor said.

Member Griselda Torres, associated with Downey High School, said that although schools will start their day later, many schools will have their school gates and buildings open for students as early as 7 a.m.

While many had a negative view on the new changes, some parents wrote that they were excited to see how the change would affect their children’s studies in school.

“Research over the past couple of decades has shown that academic productivity in teens is non-existent before 8:30 a.m.,” member Scott Anderson said. “Children would physiologically benefit from getting more sleep in the morning.”

 

SB328, a law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019 to be put into effect in August of 2022, requires all California schools to begin no later than 8 a.m. [for middle and junior high schools] and 8:30 a.m. [for high schools].

The law was created in attempts to address adolescent sleep deprivation and potentially improve academic performances.

 

The bill encourages all schools- charter, religious, private and public- to notify their boards and parents of this change before July 2022 as the bill will be affecting the 2022-2023 Fall school year.

Because of these new bell schedules requiring changes in transportation and nutrition services, elementary school bell schedules may also be subject to be adjusted.

Parents, staff and students are encouraged to reach out to their school officials to see how SB328 will affect their school schedules for the Fall 2022-2023 school year if they have not already been informed.