Researcher suggests a later school day start could cut down on delinquency

David Madden
August 18, 2019 - 4:00 am
Closed lockers in a school hallway

Drew Bloksberg/Getty Images

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A researcher at Rutgers University-Camden wants to test out a theory: Start school days a little later as a way to cut down on juvenile crime. 

All the talk in the last few years has centered on changing the schedule so kids can get more sleep, which can lead to better health and maybe better grades. Sociology Professor Daniel Semenza wants to take that to the next step.

“A lot of times crime and delinquency amongst kids is very much related to health," he told KYW Newsradio. “It’s very much related to academic performance and self-control and all these kinds of things that people have been talking about.”

But that idea has never been proven, and Semenza says all the data now in place suggests there might be a correlation. And it might just help when the kids are done for the day.

“Push the school’s end day later, which leaves less time for kids to be unstructured and at home or out doing things that they’re not supposed to do,” he added.

That sounds interesting, but Semenza also concedes kids might not be keen on the idea. Not to mention their parents. Still, since some districts around here are experimenting with the concept, he’d like to team up with a couple of them to test his theory. 

That’ll take time and, you guessed it, money. He’s also looking for a grant to fund the work.

Senenza can be reached at daniel.semenza@rutgers.edu.