Should All Classrooms Have Air Conditioning?

Should All Classrooms Have Air Conditioning?

The first few days of school were dreadful ordeals for students in Bethpage High School. Not because summer break came to an end, but because of the disgustingly sweltering classrooms we had to sit in. Not only was it hard to sit and pay attention, it may well have been unsafe for us to sit for 42 minutes at a time in these conditions.

Many students struggle to focus and complete work efficiently in hot classrooms. Savannah Boncic, BHS student in multiple advanced and AP classes said, “Yes, it is especially difficult when less of your focus is on the task at hand in the class, due to the intense heat influencing overall lethargy.”

When asked if she performs better in ar conditioned rooms during a hot day, she said, “Of course. Air conditioning is necessary for most kids to feel the most alert in class and to work at an optimal level.”

The days of BHS students are extremely challenging when we are put in situations where we are susceptible to being unfocused. When our concentration is disrupted by harsh heat, we have trouble completing our homework to our fullest potential.

Unbelievably, safety standards do not even protect students from ludicrous temperatures. According to Marc Humbert, a writer for NYSSBA, there is no real maximum temperature limit in New York State classrooms. At Bethpage High School, classrooms reached above 90 degrees. Ms. Way, AP World History and Philosophy teacher at BHS, was teaching in one of the hottest classrooms in the building. Her classroom reached 90 degrees and above during the first week.

When it’s too hot out and even hotter in the classroom, student work suffers.

Ms. Way said, “I definitely see a drop in the ability to work and concentrate the hotter it gets. Students have their heads down on their desks because the heat makes them feel exhausted.” She also says the result of the heat is, “students lack focus and struggle to complete activities.”

As students, we have the advantage of going from classroom to classroom, so parts of our day can be spent in glorious air conditioning. But many teachers are in one classroom for most of their days, some spending all day in stifling heat. Many schools aren’t taking into consideration the teachers that might need the air conditioning as well. Spanish teacher Mrs. Oak just received air conditioning in her classroom after the hottest week of the school year, as students’ work clearly suffered.

Ms. Oak said, “students were lethargic to the point where participation was almost at a zero in some of the classes,” making it hard to teach. She tells us that now with the AC in her room that it has made “teaching more pleasurable, like it should be.”

Something to take into consideration is that the attitude of the teachers reflects onto the students. When the teachers are in a bad mood, that transfers onto the students making the day worse for both of them.

Without air conditioning, the safety and comfort of our students and faculty are at risk. Installing air conditioning in all classrooms will make school life at Bethpage a better experience for everyone.