The Window Controversy at SBRHS


Ryan Silverman, Contributor

As of recently, the windows in SBRHS are only able to open a little, and in some cases unable to open at all, causing complaints among the students. Ultimately, there are two reasons for this change: screens being vandalized and fear of rain damage on the indoor track.

“We have been having a number of issues with the screens being destroyed, which is an expense.  [The Director of Building and Grounds] said he was going to shut the windows because it was getting expensive to replace these screens,” Mr. Lanczycki said.

For the windows in the classrooms, wood blocks were first put in to allow the window to open only a crack.  The blocks are now in the process of being removed and the stoppers on the windows are being moved down to create the same effect. However, some teachers are concerned about the safety of closing the windows.

The school chemical hygiene officer and chemistry teacher, Mrs. Sheehan, said that “although we have a chemical hood in the room, when we are doing chemical experiments…opening the windows to get a fresh flow of outside air is important to ventilate the room.” She believes that the small amount the windows are able to open would not provide enough ventilation in a lab emergency.

In addition to strong chemical odors, teachers also want to be able to regulate temperature and fresh air in the classroom by opening the windows.

“In August and September when we first come back to school, many times the room is sweltering and we want to get some fresh air in there,” Mrs. Sheehan said. “In the winter months, if it is a nice day, we would like to open the windows to air out of the room and prevent the spread of germs.  In the spring, it would be nice if we could get a little bit of airflow. We are not going to have those opportunities.”

Although students said that they have not faced problems in the classroom with hot temperatures because the windows cannot open, many thought that this could become a problem in the summer.

In addition to the windows being closed in the classrooms, they were also closed on the indoor track.

On the indoor track, wood blocks on the window sash were supplemented with screws that prevent the swing latch from operating, which prevented the windows from opening. Eventually, the blocks and screws were removed and the stoppers were pushed all the way down on those windows, so they could still not open at all.

For the track windows, Lancyzcki gave a different reason for why they were shut. “Students and staff were told that if they opened [the windows] they needed to close them at the end of the event and they were not doing that.  Because the windows were being left open, rain could get in, and it could ruin the track.”  Lancyzcki said that everyone was warned multiple times about leaving the windows open and sealing the windows was the only set of actions that could be taken after the warnings were not heeded.  However, this solution has negatively affected student athletes.

Samantha Borges is a senior at SBRHS that does track.  Borges told me “being an athlete, it gets very stuffy [on the indoor track] and it gets very hard to breath when we are exercising. Even when we are warming up and stretching there is a lot of people in there.  It gets hot and crowded and you cannot even open the windows a crack for cool air or anything.”

Many athletes share this same concern.  Mr. Lancyzcki said “it’s track and a lot of times you’re going to be hot, especially if you’re going to be running outside. There are going to be hot days where you’re going to need to run. If everything had been done the way we asked it to be done they would have been able to use those windows.”

Besides these problems, many students were also frustrated that the windows were closed and the students were given no reason as to why. Although most students had theories on why they were closed, no one could say a reason with certainty.  Mr. Lancyzcki said the reason the windows were closed was told to the teachers but did not make clear if it was known to the students. 

Although the windows are closed now, Lanczycki said that they will not stay that way forever. “They’re not going to be closed for the seventy years the school is going to be built. We’ll give people an opportunity, but for right now it’s going to be closed.”