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He Wakes Up at 4:10 A.M. to Go to High School. Is It Worth It?

Kashif Haynes sits shotgun in the idling Honda Civic, wide awake and waiting. His mother, behind the wheel but still in pajamas, not so much.

The Childs Park intersection feels lonely until bus No. 881 appears out of the darkness at 5 a.m., the earliest morning bus pick up in all of Tampa Bay.

This is what Kashif, a 14-year-old freshman, must do every morning to make it to Tarpon Springs High by the 7:05 a.m. opening bell. Along the way, 50 more students from south and mid-Pinellas County will jump on as the bus zigzags north for a 45-mile journey that takes two hours.

Experts on teen health call red-eye pickups like this “unconscionable.” They point to mounting evidence that early start times ­— mixed with the natural rhythms that keep teenagers up at night — are causing mental, emotional and physical harm to teens and society.