Maryland to take hard look at school start times

WASHINGTON — Bleary-eyed Maryland students could get relief from a bill being signed into law Thursday.

Prompted by research that links early school start times to learning and health problems, Maryland will now take a hard look at the issue,

Gov. Martin O’Malley will sign legislation that directs the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to make recommendations on whether public schools should start at 8 a.m. or later.

Experts, along with the Maryland Parent-Teacher Association and board of education, are expected to be consulted on the issue.

The study is said to be the first of its kind in the nation, and the recommendations are expected by the end of the year.

Montgomery County is dealing with the issue on its own. The school board there votes next month on whether to move next year’s start times for high schools back nearly an hour, to 8:15 a.m.

Later start times also have been under consideration in Anne Arundel and Howard counties.

O’Malley is scheduled to sign a measure aimed at stopping discrimination against people who are transgender. The law will prohibit discrimination on matters relating to housing, employment and credit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on WTOP Facebook page.

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