Students tested in illegal temperatures during CHASEE

Students tested in illegal temperatures during CHASEE

Lisa Shafer

Sophomore Michelle Dominguez studies for CAHSEE with room temperatures under William laws requirements on Jan 7, the first day after winter break.

Sophomores took one of the biggest tests of their high school careers in temperatures that were so cold that they were illegal.

Temperatures in Room 1207, for example, ranged from 52 degrees to 65 degrees when sophomores took the California High School Exit Examination on Feb. 5 and 6. The Williams Case, a 2004 court settlement requires California public school classroom temperatures to be between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

“I felt like I couldn’t concentrate it was very cold it lowered my confidence,” said Yesenia Mojica.

In order to graduate from high school, students must pass the exit exam, or CAHSEE, a two-day test that covers English Language Arts and mathematics standards.

Teachers who administered the exit exam were also upset about the conditions.

“I find it unacceptable that the state expects students to do their best on the exit exam in temperatures that actually break state law,” said Media Studies teacher Lisa Shafer, whose classroom is in the 1200 hallway. “Our students should not have one more barrier to their education that is not their fault.”

In fact, temperatures have fallen outside of the acceptable range on many days for many years, according to head custodian Dan Cunningham.

“When it’s cold out, the air conditioning comes on,” he said. “When it’s hot out, the heater comes on.”

District employees from the buildings and grounds department did fix some of the problems two weeks ago.

“Everything has been working fine,” said Christie Blakley, who teaches in the 3200 hallway.

But those who work in other parts of the campus still find the temperatures unacceptable.

Before the system was fixed, Marcella Evans described her classroom in the 1200 hallway as an ice cube.

‘’It feels like 0 degrees in the classroom,” said Evans. “I have a space heater on, and I’m slowly thawing out.”

How did she feel after the district “fixed” the heating problem?

“It’s still cold,” she said. “I feel the temperature has not changed.”

Another part of campus that still has temperature problems is the B portable area.

‘“Often my classroom is below 65 degrees in the morning,” said Elizabeth Siarny, a social sciences teacher in portable B1. “Sometimes it’s as low as 52 degrees.”

Students in Siarny’s class constantly complain to her about being cold and not being able to get warm.

‘’Sometimes it’s very cold and sometimes it’s very hot,” said DeAntae Kennedy, one of Siarny’s sophomores.

The non-working system has not been lost on Principal Daniel Hurst.

“It is extremely frustrating. Some classes are either too hot or too cold. Every day I put in an order to building and grounds,” said Hurst. “We would like to hold a parent and community meeting putting pressure on the school district because we do need better conditions for the school.”

One permanent solution should come in a few years. With Measure J’s approval this past November, the entire school including the heating system will be replaced.