www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-school-ac-letter-20120802,0,4026439.story

baltimoresun.com

When schools are 2hot2study

7:30 AM EDT, August 2, 2012

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I teach in a Baltimore County school that supposedly has air conditioning ("Dance to review Balto. County schools that lack air conditioning," July 27). The building has few windows, and the air conditioning system is often not operating or is ineffective and inconsistent. Many rooms are completely enclosed and temperatures reach 85 degrees and above. My work space would reach 88 degrees routinely, even when the system was working. One of the classrooms with computers routinely goes above 90 degrees.

My wife works for the U.S. Patent Office in a building with similar features as the school in which I work. They have a policy that if the building's internal temperature goes above 82 degrees for a set period of time, they can leave until the temperature is dropped. She cannot remember ever leaving work for this reason.

What needs to happen is a law that mandates acceptable working conditions in schools. While The Sun article includes an accounting of how many schools have air systems, it does not examine the actual working conditions in those schools. Many of the problems of school performance would be solved if we as a society acknowledge school as a work environment. Malls post and enforce more stringent behavioral expectations than most schools.

For all those who would say, "When I was a kid....," I also went to schools without air conditioning and even some without heat, but the classrooms did not rely on the technology we utilize today. If we want our children to take education seriously, we must demonstrate to them that we take it seriously.

Edward Kitlowski