Well, the idea of starting school later (Oct. 26 editorial, “Maine schools should look at later first bell“) does have one thing right: Teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep per night. So why not start school later and let them roll over under the covers for that extra hour in the morning? But I just cannot help but wonder if any of these experts have ever raised a teenager.

I have survived four teenagers and can only imagine what I would have had to do to get them to turn off the light without my warning them, “Shut off the light. You have to get up early for school.”

I usually started this ranting about 10 p.m. with the first call: “It’s 10 o’clock. Finish what you are doing and get to bed.” Followed at 10:30 with, “I am going to bed. Shut off that light.” Followed by: “This is the last warning. You have to get up early for school.” Maybe the light would go out, but not always the device.

What makes these sleep experts think that just because students have an extra hour to sleep in the morning, it will guarantee that they will still go to bed at the same time? When I discussed this idea with my grandchildren, they said, “Cool. Now I can stay up an extra hour later.”

So let’s think about this. Our teenagers will now be up an extra hour unattended while exhausted parents have fallen into their REM zone. What are they doing on Facebook, and who are they texting? Is Jimmy Fallon going to be their new best friend? If they get to sleep later, parents are going to lose an hour of sleep trying to get them to sleep.

What about dinner with the family? As it is now, kids get home about 6 p.m. or even later if they have a game they play or attend. Parents are putting down meals for the family around 7.

Sure, parents can make a plate and microwave it for the teenager so the younger children don’t starve waiting to eat. But what about family dinnertime? Isn’t there a group that’s told parents how important that time is together?

Think about the mornings. I worked as a school administrator for years and had to leave about 7:30 a.m. or earlier for meetings. When I left the house, I at least knew that my teenager was up and standing before I walked out the door. I felt good knowing that my child was either on a bus or in a car on the way to first period before I left the house.

Now, parents might have to leave for work with the hope that the student does not shut off his iPhone 6 alarm, roll over, miss his ride to school and — do what for the rest of the day?

Hey, I could use more sleep, too. What if all employees explain to their bosses that they could do well with more shut-eye? It would reduce fatigue-related injuries, fight off illness and even reduce the risk of obesity. Maybe I can eat those doughnuts at the morning meeting now without guilt.

I sure could have used that extra hour when I was raising four children, and the youngest was still nursing. Hey, so what if a room of fourth-graders was ready to start at 8:30 a.m. and I showed up at 9 a.m.?

Life does not work that way, and the one thing I learned as a middle school administrator is that no matter how you try to outsmart adolescents, they will find a way to outsmart you. So letting them sleep later will never guarantee that they will sleep more than they do now — simply because they don’t want to.

They have things they want to do that do not always include school. Those are the things that they will continue to do, and we would just be giving them an extra hour of unsupervised time in which to do these things.

Mary Capobianco of Scarborough is an educational consultant and a former school administrator.

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