In honor of child safety month, students share their experiences as high schoolers with siblings in elementary school, the changes they have had to make in their care toward their siblings.

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Submitted Photo: Ashilyn Joseph

Sophomore Ashilyn Joseph looks down at some of her sister’s school books. Due to the later start times for high school, Joseph said that she sometimes has to help her sister, who in elementary schoool, get ready.

As the district has implemented later start times for the high school, older siblings, including sophomore Ashilyn Joseph, said they have seen changing relationships and responsibilities toward their younger siblings.

Joseph said via email, “Before the later school start times, I would be out the door and on the bus before (my sister) would even wake up.”

Now, however, Joseph helps out more in the mornings.

Joseph said, “Both of my parents have jobs that demand a lot of time, so they’re basically always working. Because of that, it’s my responsibility to make sure my sister is on time and ready for school every morning, which can be harder.”

For his part, sophomore Dhanush Biddala, who has a brother in elementary school, said he too has seen changes because of the later high school start times.

Dhanush said, “I have less time with (my brother) because I don’t see him in the mornings, which is the same as before, but because of homework and activities and stuff in the afternoon I don’t see him as much in the afternoon (either).” 

Faith Dalton, interpersonal relations and child development teacher, said she can see how high school-aged students may have different responsibilities now that they’re staying home later in the mornings. 

She said, “I don’t really see very many negatives for the earlier start times for the younger students. If the older kids are going to school (later) then (they) can care for their younger siblings in the morning, which could help the parents in the morning.”

Still, Dalton said, a negative about starting school early for all students—both the elementary students who start earlier and their older siblings who may have to care for them in the mornings—could be them just being tired. 

“That’s a negative across the board,” she said, “whether you’re young or you’re in high school.” 

Dhanush said his brother, Dhruv Biddala, does not seem to mind the change and has about the same schedule as in previous years. Therefore, Dhanush said he does not have to provide any extra care for his brother because of this.

According to Dalton, despite the minor concerns of child care for younger siblings, the decision to have high school start later was a good step to take. She said there has been a lot of research that younger kids work better in the morning and are easier to care for in the afternoon.

Joseph and Dhanush said they can see both the positives and negatives of the change.

Joseph said, “Overall, I can’t say that I hate this change, but I don’t love it either. It’s great that I get to spend time with my sister in the mornings, but school for my sister starts at 7:50 a.m. So while I do love spending time with my sister, I really wanted those extra hours of sleep for myself.”

 

Elise Varhan
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