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Expanded school hours an exceptional idea

October 3, 2018

A quick search of the internet will confirm that the hours immediately after school present a vulnerable time for adolescents.

A group known as the Afterschool Alliance did a recent study on the subject. It revealed that more than 15 million students, including 3.7 million middle schoolers, are alone and unsupervised between 3 and 6 p.m., the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex.

The 3 p.m. beginning of this timeline has been established for obvious reasons: That’s the general time schools dismiss for the day.

If that time came later, would there be more supervision and less time for mischief among the youths?

The short answer would seem to be “yes,’’ and that’s why we view a vision of Kankakee School District 111 in affirmative terms. As reported by John Dykstra on the front page of the Monday Daily Journal, Superintendent Genevra Walters wants to turn the junior high and high school into community centers, which would remain open nightly to 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively.

The expanded hours at each site would be filled with tutoring, counseling services, parenting classes and social activities for people of all ages, just not students.

All these options are better than what all too often goes on in the hours immediately after school.

Just as education is a lifelong process, it can and should be a daylong process as well. These proposed community enters can make that a reality.

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