Does school start too early?

Some parents in Cobb County say yes. They've started a petition against the July 31 start date.

A group called "Cobb Parents Against July Start Date" wanted to push back the start until August. According to their petition, which has been signed by more than 12,000 people, they propose the following measures:

* Cancel September and February holiday. The group said that working parents can't afford childcare for these "additional holidays".

* Consider adding a few days in May so that kids don't have to return in July, "during the hottest time of the year"

Among the reasons the group opposes the early start:

* They say the extra weeks off in the current schedule turn into "wind down" and "wind up days' that "threaten our children's opportunities for deeper learning.

* They said there's no evidence that the earlier start makes their children more competitive

* The start denies teachers "personal and professional opportunities" provided by a traditional 10-12 week summer break

* Several weeks of the calendar year in Georgia are "consumed by test-taking"

* No one can explain why the calendar has been changed in the last few years.

According to the petition, some parents have considering holding their children back from the first few days of school "as an act of resistance."

11Alive's Chris Hopper spoke to some of those parents Tuesday who said it just doesn't make sense.

"Psychologically, it doesn't allow for kids to be kids as long as they have been traditionally having at least two-and-a-half months to do extra curricular training, to spend time with family, to travel," said Reshmi Hebbar. She is a parent of two Cobb County students and the initial signature behind the now-viral online petition.

11Alive asked viewers on our Facebook page what they thought about the July 31 start date, and hundreds of comments flooded in.

Do you think schools are starting too early? Sound off on our 11Alive Facebook page.

When we spoke to the school district, officials said they usually choose the start date two years in advance and offered this explanation:

"In developing the calendar, we simply looked at the end of first semester in December, accounted for any Board-approved breaks (e.g. Thanksgiving, fall break, Labor Day, etc) and worked our way back. The resulting first day was Monday, July 31."

Be that as it may, parents like Hebbar said it's hard to believe summer is over when it feels like it just started.