Later school start times force some students to wake up earlier

The later school start times in Fairfax County were supposed to let students get more sleep in the morning, but the adjustment has created some issues for students like Colin McGee.

FOX 5 was there Thursday morning as the 7th grader walked to his bus stop before dawn to go to a school that has a later start time this year. He gets up a little after 6 a.m. for a bus that picks him up a little after 6:30 a.m. School starts at 8 a.m.

"I think it's really annoying that I have to wake up so early in the morning. I don't even live very far from the school -- 15 or 20 minutes," Colin McGee said.

Colin McGee is in the Gifted and Talented Program at Lake Braddock Secondary School. That's out of boundary for the McGee's, but it is only about 20 minutes from their home in Fairfax Station.

"There's nothing that we can do about it, and we understand that it's better than it used to be, so at least we're led to believe that. But we would hope with the technology you have today, you should be able to sit down and map everything out a little better than I think they have, said father Jim McGee.

Jeff Platenberg, chief transportation official with Fairfax County Public Schools, says Colin McGee's case is not typical.

"It's not desirable, but when you're transporting students out of their neighborhood area -- in the case that you cited -- this student would have been picked up at 7:24 at their bus stop. We're picking him up at 6:33 -- a huge difference," said Platenberg.

Platenberg says 4,000 more secondary school students are riding buses this year and with the later high school start times, they're facing different traffic patterns, forcing the need to adjust some other bus routes.

"Our community works with us. They let us know where the problem areas are, and we take it very seriously that we want to resolve them as quickly as we can," Platenberg said.