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Opinion: DST Hurts Students

By Jack Reidy

The idea of changing the time on the clock was thought of in 1895 by George Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand, who in 1895 proposed a two-hour time shift so he’d have more after-work hours of sunshine to go bug hunting in the summer." However, the first form of daylight savings was in 1908 when a few hundred Canadians set the clock one hour ahead. This did not catch the attention of the world, but in 1916 during the First World War, the idea of Daylight Saving Time (DST) became well known.

The German Empire, and its ally Austria, wanted to minimize the use of artificial lighting to save fuel for the war effort so they set the clock ahead one hour. A few weeks later, the the United Kingdom, France, the United States and others in the war would set the clock ahead. DST would not last and after the war all nations stopped using it.

The idea made its return during the Second World War for the same reason. For ten months in the mid-1970s, America’s clocks moved forward and never fell back. The year-round DST, signed into law by President Richard Nixon in January 1974, sought to maximize evening sunlight and, in doing so, help mitigate an ongoing national gas crisis. While the experiment initially proved popular, with 79 percent of Americans expressing support for the change in December 1973, approval quickly plummeted, dropping to 42 percent by February 1974. This was because the winter was so dark during the morning that parents did not feel comfortable letting their children walk to school.

Today Daylight Saving Time is being discussed because the Senate has unanimously passed a vote to make the Daylight Saving Time permanent. While it will be nice to no longer switch the clock, it is not a good idea. This will negatively impact people all over the nation. The change in clocks has been linked to short-term increases in car accidents, medical errors, heart attacks, and strokes. Changing the clock disrupts people's internal clocks.

The change in time makes the mornings darker and colder. The problem is many students have to be awake at a very early hour and face a lack of visibility and cold temperatures, impacting their safety. The result is less sleep for students, an increase in accidents for students who drive to school, and a higher risk of depression for all students, no matter their age or grade. It will be better for everyone if we stop changing the clock, but choosing to stay with DST is the worst option. In order to help students, standard time should become the permanent time. Students are already under a lot of stress from homework, sports, clubs, and more, so the added problem of DST which can increase people’s depression and anxiety doesn’t help their situation.

At the end of the day, if the bill is passed and signed by President Joe Biden we will no longer have to change the clocks, but the smarter move is to have the permanent time be standard time.

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