As an educator and parent, I was thrilled to see the Portland Press Herald advocating for students and science over economic convenience (“Our View: Later high school start would be good for kids,” Feb. 28). I also loudly applaud Portland’s school board for considering the same and at least balking at an earlier start time.

Your editorial outlined the disturbing medical facts and other issues behind the sleep deprivation we are causing our teenage kids and students.

What should have also been mentioned was that the 62,000 doctors who make up the American Academy of Pediatricians made a strong statement last August, advising that adolescents should not be starting school before 8:30 a.m.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry backs the recommendations of the pediatricians’ organization, citing the documented mental health implications, which include depression and anxiety. Both groups stand on the shoulders of more than 10 years of clear and undisputed research on this topic.

A group of parents here in South Portland is also asking our school board to explore making later start times for our high school (7:30 a.m.) and middle schools (8 a.m.) and feel we are being met with open minds and growing understanding. We are also aware of similar efforts in Saco, amid a thousand other successful changes around the country.

This is not about our kids and students being unable to “tough it out” like we may have. It is about putting their collective physical health, mental health and maximized academic potential ahead of more short-term and short-sighted priorities.

John Heffernan

South Portland