Students at Paul Robeson High School in Philadelphia will find that school is cooler this year.
Over the summer, the school district began installing air conditioning units in every room.
School principal Richard Gordon IV says the change is largely a result of activism by students, staff, and parents.
For several years, the Philly school district has been working to install AC in outdated schools. But critics say progress has been too slow.
“The schools that are in the worst shape are the schools that are in our most vulnerable communities and our most impoverished communities,” he says.
As global warming causes more hot days, learning and teaching in rooms without AC is getting harder.
“It’s just really challenging … when you have students who are just uncomfortable,” Gordon says.
And the heat can trigger health problems such as asthma or migraines.
So last year, Robeson parents, students and teachers led protests to demand that the district move faster to install AC at their school.
Gordon says their efforts paid off.
“It’s going to be one less obstacle that our students are confronted with, with obtaining an education,” he says.
But he says an individual school should not have to fight for what all schools deserve.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media