He wanted to stay in bed. His family wanted him at school. So he shot them, police say.

By Niraj Chokshi

Photo / iStock
Photo / iStock

Sure, many schools start too early. And, sure, getting out of bed can be hard sometimes.

But one Tennessee teenager had an extreme reaction to his family's request on Tuesday morning that he get up and get ready for school: He shot them, according to Nashville police.

The teen, who has not been publicly identified, became angry when his grandmother, Earline Hill, and mother, Sheryl Williams, told him to get his day going, police said in a statement. He threatened the pair and then retrieved a handgun no one knew he had before firing multiple shots in the family apartment, police said.

"There was a quarrel about getting up and getting ready for the day when [at some point] the 16-year-old ran to a closet, got a 9mm handgun and started firing," Nashville police spokeswoman Kris Mumford said, according to the Tennessean newspaper.

Hill, 67, was struck at least twice, while the teen's 12-year-old sister and 6-year-old nephew received graze wounds, according to the police statement. The teen's 42-year-old mother, Williams, and his 2-year-old sister were not injured. None of the wounds are life-threatening, police said.

After the shooting, the teen left, dropped the gun off at a nearby apartment and was captured soon after, near some railroad tracks, police said. He was charged with four counts of attempted homicide and one count of reckless endangerment.

Most schools start too early for teenagers's unique sleep rhythms, doctors say.

Five out of six middle schools and high schools in the United States start before 8:30 a.m., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last summer.

As The Washington Post's Emma Brown noted when the CDC's report was released:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that schools start later than 8:30 a.m. to help teens avoid becoming chronically sleep-deprived and exhausted. Adolescents need between 8.5 hours and 9.5 hours of sleep each night, but their natural sleep rhythms make it hard for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m., according to the academy.

Research has shown that teens who get too little sleep are more likely to be overweight or depressed, and they are more likely to perform poorly in school and to experiment with tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

The CDC, in its new report, calls insufficient sleep among the nation's teenagers a "substantial public health concern," and says that while parents can help by teaching their children good sleep hygiene (no cellphones in the bedroom, for example), it is important for schools to do their part by ensuring that class doesn't start too early.

"Getting enough sleep is important for students' health, safety, and academic performance," said Anne Wheaton, a CDC epidemiologist and the report's lead author.

"Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need."

- Washington Post

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