This originally aired on The Bell’s Miseducation podcast on June 5.

My classmates are not happy with my school’s 8:20 a.m. start time, and honestly, neither am I. I’ve missed that first bell so many times. I had 12 tardies and 4 detentions in the past quarter alone, just from being late. And I’m not just late, I’m tired. When I get home, I’m physically exhausted, my bones hurt, and I just want to go to bed straight away. 

But as a junior, each month is very important. College applications, SATs, and the course work keeps getting harder. I just have too many responsibilities: homework, the internships I need for college applications, and the side jobs to support my family.

School start times are a policy choice.

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Who’s calling the shots when it comes to school start times? Is student health and well-being even on the agenda? To get some answers, I chatted with sleep experts, fellow students and even the head of my school.

Join me as I navigate through the maze of early mornings, shedding light on the detrimental impact of sleep deprivation on our lives. Will we ever see efforts to start school later? What needs to be done? Trust me, this is one podcast episode you don’t want to hit the snooze button on.

Jose Santana reported this story for The Bell’s Miseducation podcast as a high school junior. He lives in the Bronx.