From Rosalie Cross, a concerned parent:
This is a copy of an email I sent to various HCPS administration staff. I am forwarding it to you in hopes you can bring it to the attention of someone who can do something about it…
I’m not certain who the correct person to make this decision is-but could someone please forward this to the person in charge of deciding when the students at Aberdeen Middle School will be allowed the privilege of air-conditioning?
Today it was 93 degrees when I picked up my two children from Aberdeen Middle School. One child reported to me that for the second day of above 87 degree weather-the air-conditioners were not used.
Today my daughter told me she became ill in Family & Consumer Science due to the heat and lack of Windows in the room. I wonder if the administration realizes that there are many main-streamed students with health conditions such as asthma or breathing issues-who cannot tolerate that kind of environment? My children don’t have a disability and felt sick-so I can just imagine what the children with health conditions must have been experiencing. Can the school staff really expect the students to achieve any learning outcomes in that kind of environment?
I plan to pick my children up from school early on any day from now until the end of school that the temperatures are over 80 degrees-UNTIL the decision is made to use the air-conditioning system. I don’t want their learning to suffer-I believe in the educational system-but, their health comes first!
you are absolutely right. The teachers can not teach effectively and the kids can not learn under such ridiculous conditions. I know because I am a teacher. Unfortunately, I can not tell you that things will get better because the school system does not give a damn about your child our the teachers who work for it. The only thing they are motivated by our inflated test scores and $$$.
Engineer tech says
First of all, Let me explain how heating and cooling works in most big buildings. Usually your heat comes from gas fired boilers, usally running almost all year long. This hot water is then transfered to an air handling unit and blows out warm air, your cold air usally comes from chillers and evaporation towers, this season went from freezing cold to unseasonablly warm, so in order to get things setup because the school system does not have employees 24 hours a day, and it takes time to clean cooling towers, chlorinate, so that your childern do not get leigonella, it also takes time to get the chillers running and all the pumps and motors etc. This is not your house people, it doesnt work like your house.
Common Sense says
Maryland should just bring up some common sense legislation to ban air conditioning in the summer to solve this complicated issue.
Engineer tech says
I dont understand what your talking about banning air conditioning? The school building are used almost 7 days a week 12 months a year from 6 am to 10 at night. Just because students are not in the classroom doesnt mean the school is unoccupied. Parks and recs, community organizations, colleges, and many many others use the schools.
Jeff Dalmer says
Banning air conditioning is the only way to stop from harmful particulates that is circulated through the ducting from being breathed, it’s common sense legislation that I think everyone will agree on.
Could’ve fooled me. I’ve yet to see a large office building that can’t turn a thermostat when it gets hot and get cool air. Only large schools.
Sounds more like either a HVAC design issue from the start, or a situation where you need 15 unionized state engineers to change everything over, likely working overtime for days. Not sure about that one, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
My children learned in school before there was air conditioning.
School Mom says
I went to school in the 1970’s and yes we did not have air conditioning BUT at least we had windows we could open to get fresh air in to circulate in the building.
Unfortunately, a majority of our schools do not have windows that open. There are doors (for schools that are still one level) but a majority of the schools are told to keep the doors closed (for safety reasons).
Greg, have you ever sat in a classroom with no circulating air, on a day that gets above 80 degrees; with 20+ students in it? My daughter’s went to Joppatowne ES before their massive renovation and it was absolutely horrible. I can still remember the last day of school when we were having an ice cream party and the ice cream was melting before we could dish it out.
We as parents sent emails and letters to the Board of Education inviting them to come visit on a hot day. Their response was that they were monitoring the situation, yeah right. All the 90+ degrees days and our children sat in a classroom because the school/board of ed thought the children were in a safe environment.
Before anyone else comments, yes, I am aware that I have two grammatical errors in my last post in my haste to type my response up. Yet my point remains the same. HCPS has other priorities other than the employees of the school system or the students who attend HCPS schools.
Tried and Frustrated says
Greg, have you ever been in the middle school? It is like a dungeon in there, no window and no sun light, if really feels like a prison.
Surviving is not the same as thriving and the circumstances in your children’s school may not have been the same as this parent’s. Show some compassion.
I grew up in the sixties in Aberdeen. No AC at home or schools were to be had. Sure, there were days we about melted, but we survived and even got used to it. When we got home on the hottest days we still ran around outside playing. In this society of pampered children (mine included) that sit around on their cell phones and gaming systems in a totally climate controlled environment year-round, I have said all along our American society is becomming too “wimpy”. Millions of folks all over the world put up with extreme heat along with lack of food and proper medical care. If the child is putting forth good effort as the norm and then has an uncomfortale few days, it shouldn’t change their grades; and the teachers will probably extend a little grace. Surprise! We are all cold again today. Economically it doesn’t make sense to fire up the expensive AC equipment for a couple days when money is already so tight. Please don’t say there is no compassion here. A little common sense goes a long way.
Just out of curiosity…who is paying for your kids cell phones and gaming systems, and who is allowing them to sit around on them rather than playing outside, and who is providing the climate-controlled environment in which they sit?
I agree says
you are so right; We are breeding a nation of WIMPS. I was taught to suck it up at press on.
Tried and Frustrated says
The air condition are turn on in other schools.
Are we sure the problem is not with that schools AC unit? I know sometimes they break and fixing them is not a fast solution. There are few buildings without AC anymore.
I also went to school in days before air conditioning and it did get hot but we survived and adapted. There are two key things to take into account on behalf of today’s students in today’s schools:
1) Today’s schools are built and/or remodeled assuming the use of AC. This means that windows are few, small and cannot be opened for security reasons or they are nonexistent. When AC is not used in these schools there is no air circulation and therefore the body cannot cool itself effectively.
2) Most of today’s students live or are in AC much of the day during very hot days and therefore their bodies are adapted to cooler temperatures. They have more difficulty adapting than I did 50 years ago when I sat in a well-ventilated very hot classroom.
I am a teacher in HCPS (my school is quite well air-conditioned) and I teach in a windowless room. If our AC went out, my students and I would suffer from heat and stagnant air.
Why is it that some people think schools should be how they were 40 years ago? Yes, you survived without AC. There was once a time when schools had no indoor plumbing, and those students learned just fine. There was once a time when schools had no cafeterias, and those students learned just fine. blah blah blah
We make technological advances as a society in order to improve quality of life. Why must teachers and students be the only sector of society that aren’t worthy of these improvements because they cost money.
If a restaurant consistently had non-function air conditioning or poor indoor air quality, would you continue to frequent that establishment?
If your doctor or dentist office waiting was consistently hot in the warmer months and frigid in the winter months, would you suffer through it? I think not.
Teachers and students should be afforded the same safe working environment as we demand everywhere else. Lack of working AC is not only about comfortable temperatures, it’s poses huge indoor air quality concerns.
Who cares what schools were like 40 years ago. That’s like listening to certain elected official tell war stories from 1972 because he doesn’t have any that are more recent…
40+ years ago buildings were designed not to have A/C. They had windows you could actually open and let a nice breeze through. There were one or two schools I went to as a kid in the 80’s that were like that (and those were pretty old buildings at the time.) I also went to school in a fairly new building that was designed to be 100% climate controlled w/ open classrooms (and the latter is a terrible idea esp when a fight broke out in a neighboring “classroom” and a couple kids came tumbling through the partition…) The only windows in the entire building were in the main office and those tiny windows in the heavy, metal exterior doors. If there ever was a problem with the A/C in that building during a stretch of hot days it could potentially get to be well over 100 degrees inside with no way to get fresh air moving through.
For better or worse, most buildings today are designed to be climate controlled. Now either the windows don’t open or they only open a crack and about all that accomplishes is letting heat inside w/out the benefit of a cross breeze to make things more comfortable.
Personally, I think we all should just turn off the A/C period unless the temps are pushing into the 90’s w/ high humidity (except for cases of people having medical problems.) Open all the windows, maybe turn on a couple fans, and enjoy the fresh air. If you let your body actually adjust to those types of conditions you’re less likely to have problems like heat stroke when you go out to mow the lawn or something, plus your bank account will appreciate the lower utility bills.
Just to be clear, the end of that was referring to our homes, not modern schools that aren’t designed to have window that open.
HDG Reader says
It would be nice, but opening the windows today would be a definite no-no because of all the safety issues thanks to school shootings over the years. We got in trouble one day for keeping our office door open even though it didn’t lead out to the main entrance.
bam bam jigalow says
LOL you have got to be joking. Opening a window is against school policy? I guess the logic is that open windows at homes are more safe?
Schools are required to be defenseless. Homes aren’t.
HDG schools now have armed gaurds. Open away.
HDG Reader says
I work in a school and last summer the A/C had to be turned off for a couple of days. Since it was during the summer and the kids weren’t here, HCPS didn’t shut down the building and staff were not allowed to leave. By the end of the day, I was ill.
It’s not about being wimpy. It’s about having common sense and turning on the A/C if it can be and letting staff and students being able to be comfortable and productive while learning and working, especially for those with medical conditions. It’s 2013, not 1963 and we need to realize that.
The Money Tree says
So we can’t open windows for fear the little children will deliberately leap to their deaths? Honestly whether air conditioning is necessary or warranted at all time aside we truly have become ridiculously whimpified. Contrary to what’s been previously stated no, not everyone has air conditioning and these same kids who we think might melt somehow are encouraged to go out in the same heat and sun when they get home by not just thier parents but health experts who continually lament the physical state of our kids – fat, lazy and whimpy. Good lord children used to work on the farm all summer which is exactly why the school year is set up as it is – to let our in early June. Kids would muck manure in hot barns in July and guess what they lived. Ask the 4-H kids at the farm fair this year – apparently they’re the only kids that still work at anything other than pecking at a machine.
So what you are saying is that you don’t use air conditioning in your home or car on hot days, as doing so would make you one of the “whimpified”? How about heat? Do you use heat in the winter, or do you just “tough it out”? Should we not heat the schools? I mean, if the kids can stand extreme heat, there should be no reason they can’t tolerate extreme cold as well.
The Money Tree says
I only have one window unit in one room because I live in a very old house so really it’s almost as effective to keep the doors closed until the house starts to heat up and then open a couple windows for cross ventiliation. I think you sort of missed my point or perhaps I wasn’t as clear as I should have been. Don’t really want the kids to be either too hot or too cold. Surely kids can last a couple days without central air. Just listen to these comments – it’s like we’ve become unable to withstand even normal earth temperatures anymore. I was in Costa Rica a few years back – the kids went to school in small single rooms open on all sides other than a low clay wall. Costa Rica tests almost as well as we do with all our high-falutin’ dollars spent.
bam bam jigalow says
So if Aberdeen middle school was built in 1973, and last renovated in 1999, what kind of technological current day advances are we talking about that we all need?
Air conditioning is not controlled at the school. It is centrally controlled, and set to turn on at a certain date. Most of the schools didn’t have air, because it wasn’t set to turn on in early Apr.
Two comments: The reason there are no windows in most classrooms isn’t because children will leap to there death (pretty silly comment), but because it is less taxing on heating and a/c when they are used. Just for the record, I once broke up a fight between two girls where one of them was trying to push the other out of a third story window of a high school, so there are dangers from windows, but, again, this is not the reason. Second, I would rather be outdoors on a hot humid day than in an enclosed classroom with 25+ other people breathing inside air. So would your children.
Money Mike G Money says
The Window Safety Act of 2014.
Banning windows with a surface area of a certain amount, and banning windows that open up. No windows will be “grandfathered” and be required to be bricked up by a State dubbed Mason.
Who would of course be related to someone on the school board…
HCPS teacher says
The problem is that the air is controlled by the Central Administration and as usual hat is good for them isn’t good for those who actually educate.
I bet at the Central Administration Building, their air is on and Dr. To back doesn’t have to deal with such heAt and humidity. Yet often times they won’t turn the air on early enough in the AM to cool the building or early enough in the school year.
I hear about this and just become tired of how the students and those on the front lines don’t get the treatment they deserve.
Who cares how your school was hot years ago! Comfortable students and teachers can maximize learning, which is what supposedly is most important.
Turn the temperature up at the Central Administration building to save money.
Steve Jacobs says
Life Pro Tip: Hotter weather is easier to endure if you are not over weight. It might be an issue as it is Aberdeen.
Fear not students, if you are having trouble breathing, can’t write on your papers because they are damp with humidity, or can’t focus on the lesson because its stifling in your classroom that has no windows, according to this guy all you need to do is go on a diet, problem solved.
And buy Rite-in-the-Rain notebooks.
cutting grass says
Since kids walk to school in t shirt and shorts in the winter when its freezing temperatures, they may as well leave the ac on year round.
I agree with the people who say we are raising a nation of wimps. We are teaching our children that constant whining and complaining gets your way. They get off school when there is just a dusting of snow. Ridiculous! I went to a school that was 5 miles from my town of 800 people and it was surrounded by corn fields and we went to school on the deepest snow days. The only way we got a snow day is if there was blizzard conditions that would have also made Mommy and Daddy not go to work. If the companies are open, the schools should be too.
As for heat.. First of all, I hate A/C. Thank GOD I didn’t have A/C when I was in school because I would have been asleep in class. A/C makes you feel lazy and tired. Sometimes I almost fall asleep at the wheel driving home with the A/C on, and I roll down the window and the heat wakes me right up.
Put a fan in the class, open a window, give students cups of water, and teach!
This is getting ridiculous!
Teachers using purple pens because they don’t want to make the students feel bad. Give me a break! If you failed you failed. “Period”
Wahhh! It’s Hot!! Shut up and read!
Mary Harris says
The only people actually qualified to write anything here are teachers/staff/students of any school in HCPS. I used to work at Harford Technical… YES, the technical high school, who teach heating and air conditioning. You either froze in the summer, especially if you were in the office, or you suffocated. Teachers and students practically faint in some classrooms in the warm weather (even in April) from heat. They are feeling quite ill since school has begun now with the heat in the classrooms. Extremely unhealthy. Any of you non school personnel have asthma? Sometimes it is just really hard listening to you people rant about things you know nothing about. Aren’t our children our priority? Isn’t their health and giving them the best education we can important? Shouldn’t our teachers, responsible for taking care of (many times for way more hours than some parents do the job in a day) and educating our students, be IMPORTANT? Seriously!
Ken Crolisth says
I’m definitely qualified to post on the internet, I’m a really important person.
Harford tech, you don’t say? Why don’t they get the HVAC program students to fix the….., wait for it…… HVAC system at the school? Problem solved, and the kids got experience.
“The only people actually qualified to write anything here are teachers/staff/students of any school in HCPS. I used to work at Harford Technical…”
Interesting you state who is qualified, then tell us all you don’t work there and are unqualified and proceed to rant on. I certainly hope the reason you no longer work there is you were fired for being an idiot.
Mary Harris says
I lived through it for 13 years. I am qualified, even though I did report as you stated. Wasn’t fired, but I probably am quite the idiot for trying to reason with anyone like you, “disgusted.”