Temperatures Rise in Peteranecz’s Class
December 9, 2013
It’s 10:00 AM, and the students in Jennell Peteranecz’s English class are starting to get a little antsy. One by one, jackets come off. Students fidget in their desks, trying to angle themselves towards the fans. Living in Florida, they’re used to having heat year-round, but not in the classroom. Outside, it’s 75 degrees. In Room 202, however, it’s 10.5 degrees warmer.
The air conditioning in Room 202 has been broken since returning to school from Thanksgiving break, despite Peteranecz’s best efforts to solve the problem.
“I called the school janitor, and a contractor,” said Peteranecz. “The contractor came and claimed he had fixed it [the air conditioner] but by the end of the day, it was 86 degrees.”
After those attempts failed, she also brought in four standing fans and spent $200 out-of-pocket on a de-humidifier for the classroom, hoping the room would cool down. Even then, the coolest the room got was 84 degrees.
For her students, it was less than ideal.
“It’s uncomfortable to learn in such a hot environment,” said Katherine Kraemer (’17). “It’s not fair, and it should be fixed!”
Unfortunately, there is no quick, easy solution. Hillsborough County School District controls air conditioning in schools, not the schools themselves directly.
In the Hillsborough County School district Site Safety Monitors Handbook, section 8.8 states: “The primary purpose of a building is to protect people from the elements and provide comfort. They should not cause people discomfort, illness, or otherwise effect their ability to preform.”
However, for students like Karam Paul (’17), the conditions did effect their ability to focus in class.
“It’s hard to concentrate when all you’re thinking about is getting the fan on the other side of the room,” said Paul. “Also, when the fans are on, it’s hard to hear the videos and documentaries that are playing.”
As of yet, the problem has not been resolved, and the air conditioning is still broken.
For Peteranecz, this means teaching her students in a classroom that is hotter than the majority of the country, at least for the time being.
“It’s very frustrating, especially when I am going to be evaluated on my effectiveness as a teacher,” said Peteranecz. “How can anyone be effective when it’s over 85 degrees in the classroom?”
Author’s Note: As of 12/16, temperatures had returned to normal in Peteranecz’s classroom.
Isabel Hanewicz is a senior at Robinson High School and is the editor-in-chief of RHStoday. She was named the 2014 Emerging Young Journalist of the Year...