Greenwich Mother of 5: Late Dismissal Causes More Pressure, Less Sleep and More Stressed Students

Letter to the editor submitted by Dawn Clisham, Nov 3, 2017

Dear Editor,

My name is Dawn Clisham.  I am writing this letter today to express our families unhappiness with the late dismissal time.  We currently have a daughter who is a senior. She is our 5th child to go through the district.

I have to say I am glad she is a senior and only has this year to worry about the dismissal time.  And, I thank god she didn’t have to deal with it during her Junior year which is most important for students to do academically well.

The dismissal change has caused a lot of grief to our family.  While I do support the research suggesting a later time for teens waking, pushing the dismissal time back only causes more pressure, less sleep and more stressed students.

I don’t intend to bring this solely to a personal level; however, as a family of swimmers, their time is limited.  Their practice schedule has been altered for a variety of different reasons as you know, with two days a week releasing at 9:15pm.  At best the girls are home at 9:40pm – wet and starving.  Although some homework does get done before practice, the 40 minute drive home from GHS because of increased road traffic and elementary buses, doesn’t allow her to even start it before 4:00pm.

She resumes homework after practice around 10:00pm, often turning the lights out after midnight with her alarm set early to finish studying in the morning before school as long as she is not back in the pool at 7:00am.

Lilly is 100% certain her grades would never have been 4.0 + last year had this time change been in effect then.  With college pressures, I feel horrible for the current Junior grade.

For athletes, this time change is a complete disaster.

Traveling to far away meets like Ridgefield required the students miss a full block and then some.

The stress of making up AP work seems to not have gotten factored into your decision.

Twice my daughter has needed help making up work from missed class for meets and her teachers response was she needed to come in early because staying late was not an option given the increased travel time they had getting home.

Another teacher suggested my daughter had her own attendance policy because she was missing for meets.  That is a nice passive-aggressive way for a teacher to upset a student – and why, because she had to miss for a meet to represent our school.

Chris Winters and Gus Lindine outlined many of these issues and more before the change, and it seems only a block change was implemented.  Let me tell you, it wasn’t enough. You put a 16-year-old Senior honor student/athlete in front of a teacher who is angry they are missing a whole block of their class and tell me you have made their life better.

The issues you have also presented to working families or those attempting to reenter the working world are also numerous.

Many of my friends leave the house before their children are even up.  Several times their children have overslept because NO ADULT IS HOME.

Personally, I’d love to begin subbing in the school district but have changed my mind given I’d be leaving my daughter home asleep and also wouldn’t be able to pick her up given the dismissal changes and traffic conditions on Post Road.

A small selective group of people thought this was a good thing.   You’ve got inside everyone’s home and made changes without fully thinking it through.

It’s shameful.

Dawn Clisham