School chairs have become a hindrance on the health and posture of teenagers. According to a poll by the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of parents believe their schools are not being held to a high standard when it comes to providing healthy lunches and good classroom ergonomics. There are plenty of issues in many American public schools that need to be solved, with one being the hard plastic chairs that students are forced to sit in all day long.
School chairs affect students greatly, even though the negative effects of them are rarely addressed. According to an article published in “Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation,” senior lecturer on ergonomics and safety at Harvard University, Jack Dennerlein said “These chairs cause long term problems for students, such as permanent neck and back damage, headaches and an eventual lack of focus.”
This discomfort causes students brains to shift their focus from their teacher to how uncomfortable they are.
Schools like MSD that have their students on block schedules, force them to sit in these horrible chairs for 90 minutes straight.
Desks can also cause strain on students’ backs and necks, as they are often too low for a students’ reach. This causes their necks to bend forward, putting extreme strain on their lower backs since the plastic chairs provide zero support.
“If the chair is too small, children slump forward, pressuring the spine, and sit with their knees higher than their bottoms which puts undue pressure directly on the butt bones,” Dennerlein said.
The ignorance towards students’ general welfare and comfort shows how lazy American schools are towards improving the environments that students learn in. There are two reasons school boards pick these damaging plastic chairs: price and indestructibility.
American schools are ridiculously underfunded and many school boards simply do not have the budget to provide adequate chairs. National public radio states, “In Florida, the average district spends $9,231 per student, less than the nationwide average.” Plastic chairs are chosen to make sure the ones they spend money on will be long lasting.
The fact that students have to sit in these chairs their whole academic lives, causes their growth spurts to become inhibited. Students’ spines can end up bent and deformed, causing many problems later in life, such as restricted blood flow throughout the body.
“Conventional chairs have a rigid seat that inclines backwards and merges into a seating hollow causing lack of blood circulation, a rounding of the back, tense shoulder, neck, and back muscles, the spinal cord to be pressed to one side, and a constriction of the digestive organs,” the faculty of University of Manitoba in “Ergonomics for School Children: School Bags, Furniture, Computers, Visual and Auditory” said.
The school board needs to realize the importance of a good classroom environment and how that can change a student’s attitude and work ethic in a classroom. These apparently “small” problems the school board has are beginning to add up and turn into issues that last throughout students’ entire lives.