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Coffee in the Classroom

Kelsey Rodrigues
Opinion & Student Life Editor
October 24, 2014

Cellular Phones, Crop Tops, and Coffee. What do these items all have in common? They’ve all been banned from Durfee classrooms. This year, the administration has taken an especially strict approach on allowing students to bring coffee into the building, a decision that has been extremely controversial and has caused outrage among the student body. 

This issue has been the talk of the halls since school began, with students having their drinks confiscated or being forced to throw out their newly purchased cup of joe on a regular basis. Not only does this strain students financially, as they are wasting money on beverages that will be disposed before they are consumed, but the school is also wasting energy in enforcing this arbitrary rule. 

According to Principal Paul Marshall, its not the coffee or the plastic cup thats the problem, it’s the caffeine. “We are allowing water to be used by students but in an effort to keep the school clean and free of caffeine, as we did with the soda, we can not allow students to bring (coffee) into the building,” comments Marshall.

While the administration’s efforts to promote a healthier lifestyle for their students are admirable, it is also abundantly ironic. Though caffeine has some potentially dangerous effects on young adults, so does sleep deprivation.

Many students depend on caffeine to function during their first period classes. Varying based on individual morning routines, if a student wakes up at approximately 7 a.m., according to the National Sleep Associations recommendation of 91/4 hours of sleep, they would need to fall asleep by 10 o’clock the night before to be fully rested the next day. However, this is nearly impossible due to their biological clock and school’s conflicting early start time. 

According to a study conducted by sleep researchers Mary Carskadon, of Brown University, and Bill Dement, of Stanford, most teenagers fall asleep between 11 p.m. and 12 a.m., due to a greater release of melatonin after 10 p.m. 

Along with impairing memory, cognitive functions, and alertness, sleep deprivation also causes more serious health concerns such as depression and mental illness, obesity, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of being involved in an occupational or automobile accident.

“Usually during basketball season I only get home at around 8,” shares senior Brianna Camara,” then after dinner, homework, and showering, I’m lucky if I get to bed by 11.” This situation is inevitably common with the many extracurriculars high school students are expected to participate in today, along with the workload that accompanies the Honors and AP classes they are encouraged to take. 

If health is truly a main concern, instead of eliminating coffee from the classroom, a tool that combats debilitating morning fatigue and better prepares students for the day ahead, the City of Fall River should consider introducing a later start time for schools, specifically high school and middle schools, which would result in an increase in student diligence and productivity.