More teachers should take action against fluorescent lighting


Katherine Lundquist

Students work quietly under the blue cloths Darin Doty put up to dim the harsh light.

Katherine Lundquist, Staff writer

South High is lit by fluorescent lights and I think it’s cheap. I dislike the lighting at south. It gives off a green tint that makes students look sickish. The lights cause headaches and migraines and makes it hard to learn.

I have been experiencing headaches ever since starting school at South. I came from a school with fluorescent lights and lots of windows, and I rarely got headaches. I have also noticed that it’s harder to pay attention in the morning than it is in the afternoon at South because of the lighting.

I’m not the only one who has experienced this: “I have always experienced headaches because of the fluorescent lighting,” said English teacher Darin Doty. “It’s abrasive and too unlike daylight,” he said.  “It affects students ability to pay attention in the morning.”

He found a way around that. “I bought two of the big dollar store birthday table cloths and put them up…. It dulls the lighting and makes it less harsh.” Doty noticed a few changes after he put them up. “There was an increase in participation, attentiveness and willingness to be alert,” he stated.

Doty found it helped his students, “It got really good responses”. One student who was getting really bad headaches before he put up the cloths saw an improvement. After Doty put them up she noticed they went away. “Everyday I got headaches and they would last from 1 hour to an hour and a half,” said South Sophomore Antionna Bradley.

Many South students noticed that South has a very prison like structure. The fluorescent lights contribute to the prison like atmosphere. Classrooms without windows make the fluorescent lights more noticeable. Other schools that have windows in most of their classrooms are less likely to have students that get headaches and be affected by the lights. This atmosphere makes students not want to be here at South.

“Schools are treated by state governments like businesses instead of learning institutions,” explained Doty. Learning is a creative process. “I would never recommend fluorescent lights for a creative space,” he said.  The headaches and stress caused by fluorescent lights have negative effects on the creative process.

Fluorescent lights are the most common lights, you can find them in schools, malls and grocery stores. The reason it has become the most popular choice of lighting is “it’s cheaper and they have contracts with companies who use them based on bulk purchases” stated Doty.

Fluorescent lights seems like the best source of lighting, because it is cheap and efficient as stated in the Consumer Energy Center report. They are available in many different styles and choices. They also last longer than any other light.

The lighting at South is not likely to change because it is not in our budget. Even if South had more funding it’s doubtful the fluorescent lighting will change. Teachers should take action if they or a student in their class has ever complained about the lights. Doty set a great example of a teacher taking action to fix the lighting here at South.