Patrick Henry students, teachers organizing in protest of hot school

Categories: Education, Weather
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Chalk it up as yet another reason why the first day of school shouldn't happen until after Labor Day, if at all possible.

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With the help of MN Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, some Patrick Henry High School students and teachers are holding a press conference at 3 p.m. today outside the North Side school to decry the fact that class is being held in an un-air conditioned building while temperatures hover in the 90s.

In a press release entitled "Students Demand 'Schools, Not Sweatshops' as Heat Wave Continues," an unnamed 18-year-old Patrick Henry student is quoted as saying, "You can't imagine what it's like. I came in excited for my first day of school, and by the end I was just trying to stay awake."

"What kind of bleak future is the district picturing for me that this is preparing me for with overheated, overcrowded classrooms?" the student adds.

The student's sentiment is shared by Patrick Henry civics teacher Brionna Harder.

"As teachers, we work really hard to set the right tone on the first day of class," Harder said. "The message kids are getting today is that our school system doesn't care about you, doesn't care about your health, and doesn't care whether you learn. That only makes my job harder."

Assuming class isn't canceled, there won't be any relief for sweltering students and teachers this week, as highs are supposed to remain in the 90s through Saturday.

The next day the high temp is projected to dip below 80? Next Tuesday, which was traditionally the first day for school when I was a youngin'. Ah, the good old days!

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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28 comments
lund519
lund519

I notice how a lot of school districts are starting classes this year on August 25 and now they get out on June 24.  Are they changing the school calendar around for some reason again or giving kids a month off in the winter or what?  I can't imagine these kids are able to concentrate when they're sweating in the classroom; even during the best indoor climate the kids are unbearable.

glorybean17
glorybean17

It is very offensive that people are comparing schools to sweatshops. It is certainly hot but it is going to be okay.

Sarah Huntley
Sarah Huntley

Don't forget the nice (up to 2) mile walk to and from school in the heat!

Susan Schlenker Ingvaldsen
Susan Schlenker Ingvaldsen

What did kids do before air conditioning? They survived. My parents didn't get air conditioning until we all moved out.

sweeter963
sweeter963

Both of my sons go to Henry and its hot in there! They considered going to South just for the air.

Deb Browne
Deb Browne

This is why school should not start in August they tried it back in the early 80's and had the same problem and they need schools like the old ones with windows that open.

Alex Browne
Alex Browne

I went to a large school with no AC and I survived. If you expect to be pampered go to a private school.

Elisa Maria
Elisa Maria

I'd like to see how great you'd all feel having to rub elbows with 2000 other kids, inside a room of 90°+ humidity and do so for 6 hours, no break of a/c. just because we are somewhat privilaged ( i say that because some are more so than others) in America doesn't mean we can't have our complaints, too. Received a call from MPS last night saying my kid could stay home, excused absence.

Jean Claude Cau
Jean Claude Cau

I thought Minneapolis voters just approved a levy to rectify overcrowded classrooms a few years back, then the school district closed schools due to "falling enrollment". #fullof bs

Lynn Robinson Zirkle
Lynn Robinson Zirkle

It is what it is! They were given the option to stay at home because of the heat.

really
really

Any teacher who participates in this protest should be fired immediately. 

barbertj23
barbertj23

2 things:

1: Schools should have Air Conditioning

2: Research shows having school as close to year round as possible keeps children from forgetting things during long summers and setting them back further than they need. Ideally the school year should have the same amount of days but the breaks could be longer, minus the summer couple months off. 

Alex Browne
Alex Browne

What a whiny kid. How many generations of students have gone to schools without AC? Real education problems lie within countries like Liberia where all students failed the last university admission exam.

josh019
josh019

What kind of children are we raising? There are many jobs that do not have the LUXURY of AC. Comfort is not a right.

Realist
Realist

First world problems...

really
really

@Elisa Maria that's just it. they can stay home. having teacher lead kids in protest is absurd. 

ajlalk3
ajlalk3 topcommenter

@really I know, right? Those damn teachers, wanting to have quality learning environments for kids and working conditions for themselves!

jontkernel
jontkernel

@Alex Browne So, is it your position that schools should not have air conditioning?

jontkernel
jontkernel

@josh019 So, is it your position that schools should not be air conditioned?


brill029
brill029

@josh019 But not a lot that require you to sit still in a poorly ventilated 1950s-era brick building with 30-40 other people for no pay.  I did K-12 in the Minneapolis public schools and those couple days when it would get this hot in September and June were absolutely miserable.  

ajlalk3
ajlalk3 topcommenter

@Realist So...because some kid in Nigeria is sweating his ass off, that means every kid in Minneapolis should as well?

Seriously, some of you people are beyond clueless. I only hope YOU don't ever raise children.

really
really

@ajlalk3 @really what will a protest accomplish other than make these kids think they're getting screwed by the man? if teachers have an issue they can go directly to the principle, school board, etc. no need to drag the kids into it. fucking pathetic.

josh019
josh019

My position is that if this was a big issue it should be delt with in the proper manor, like before students are in school on a 95 degree day.  Why is school starting prior to labor day?  My kid's school doesnt have air either  but his school doesn't start until after labor day (as it should be). Lets save the walk out and protest for the illegal war Obama is about to start or the illegal war that Bush started, not to whine about a couple of hot days.  How did we survive as a species prior to air conditioning being in every indoor space?

really
really

@ajlalk3 @Realist I have kids. I wouldn't let them go to school with no ac in these conditions. if their teachers held a rally about it I would have words personally  with those teachers, their principle, and the school board. 

kongc_takeshi
kongc_takeshi

@really @ajlalk3 Being an Alumni of the school, it is an extremely old building housing thousands of kids in small classrooms. Teachers advocated for excused absences FOR students, however, the well being of teachers should be addressed as well and students are SUPPORTERS because of what the teachers did for them. It's a matter of a partnership between students and teachers for a better learning environment, despite the extreme conditions outside affecting the inside. Just something to sit on...

jontkernel
jontkernel

Yes, we survived.  We also ate raw animal organs, died when we were 40, and lived rough nomadic existences.  If you are arguing for an agrarian nomadic lifestyle, then I believe your point is misapplied.  We are talking about a simple thing, which is that school districts should have their shit in order so that kids don't need to sit through a very uncomfortable environment unnecessarily.  That's all.

jontkernel
jontkernel

@really @ajlalk3 @Realist So, your position is that you would not allow your kids to go to a school without air conditioning, but if the teachers (who agree with your position) would fight for the exact same conditions that you would want for your kid, then you would have a problem with them.  So logical.

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