The Unrockable Chair
How many students are injured each year from rocking in a chair and falling? 7,000 students are admitted to a hospital a year from chair-related incidents. 70% of those were from rocking backwards in the chairs. This statistic does not include students who fell from chairs while rocking and were not injured.
Tom Wates was nearly driven mad telling students to stop rocking their chairs. “It was something I was saying as much as I was asking children to be quiet. I couldn’t do anything about them talking, but I figured that I could stop this.” [Fiona Hamilton, timesonline.co.uk] Problems with chairs are so prevalent that some schools have eliminated chairs in the classroom and use exercise balls.
Wates created The Max Chair with Sedley Place, a design company. The chair has curved legs making students unable to lift the front legs off the floor by more than 5 centimeters.
A recent bus accident resulting in four Minnesota children being killed on their way to school brings up the issue of bus safety. While statistics show that students are eight times safer riding to school on a school bus than riding with parents, what more could be done? The issue of seat belts on buses surfaces after each accident and then disappears. Did the Cottonwood students die from head trauma when thrown across the bus onto a hard surface? Would seat belts have prevented the head trauma?
Indoor Air Quality
Ventilation systems are using lower percentages of fresh air in order to keep energy costs down.
Students are exposed to less fresh air because recess time is being cut in many schools.
Plastics are prevalent in schools and are known to give off fumes that may not be healthy for students to inhale.
Pesticides are used to keep rodents and insects in check. Some children are very sensitive to these chemicals.
Cleaning compounds may cause allergic reactions in sensitive students.
Many teachers are purchasing air cleaners for their classrooms to purify the air for their students.
Recent recalls of meat bound for hot lunch programs reminds us of the possibility of food contamination. While school kitchens must pass inspections, the possibility of tainted food in the hot lunch program always exists. Some schools have switched to organic foods.
Staff infection is possible everywhere. It is especially likely to spread in locker rooms and bathrooms. The recent media scare may be over but the risk of infection is not. Children must wash hands often in school, not share athletic equipment, and cover all cuts. The MRSI is deadly in many cases.