The student news site of Lake Stevens High School


The student news site of Lake Stevens High School


The student news site of Lake Stevens High School


Lighting creates ambiance

LSHS classrooms need lighting options other than bright lights
Graphic created by Maria Andrade
Lights can have mood altering effects on someone in a classroom setting.

Hard white fluorescent light has been the school standard for lighting for as long as anyone can remember. But was there any consideration that went into the effects hard white light have on people?

During the 19th century, systematic studies in human interaction with tools began taking place in order to improve working conditions. In the 1990’s scientific studies started exploring the effect of lighting on the brain in working environments, which also included schools. Said studies showed that “students who worked under standard pink or cool-white fluorescent lighting showed higher rates of behavior problems”. It was also shown that these students showed poor academic performance compared to students working under different lighting.

Lighting is something a lot of people often overlook, but it actually has mood-altering powers on someone’s mental health.

Most students have had at least one teacher with warm lamps in their classroom instead of using the overhead main lights installed in the buildings. A few teachers in the English department provide softer lighting: Amy Fry, Kelly Guilfoil, and Annemarie Russell.

Teacher Bri Ames also prefers to decorate her classroom with soft lights simply because she and her co-teacher, Stuart Chaffee prefer the softer setting to work in, as well as the students prefer the soft lighting of the lamps compared to the overhead lights. Chaffee stated the alternative lighting creates a “space more inviting and comfortable” and said that the overhead light can be too “aggressive for our taste”.

The bulbs that the school uses are what the industry standard provides; they are supposed to have enough light for people to be able to work efficiently as well as being electrically efficient. But teachers with alternative lighting like Ames and Chaffee also have to follow these codes according to Robb Stanton, executive director of operation services.

As long as the students can see clearly enough, then they should be in the clear. If students are doing things like reading, then there needs to be ample light. In classrooms where science and maybe math are the primary subjects then there needs to be ample light for students to work, which is why most of those rooms have large windows in order to allow natural light to be the primary light source.

But not all classes teach science and math, students being surrounded by the “aggressive” light as Stuart Chaffee phrased it, can have mood-altering effects as mentioned above. Students can become irritated or even develop headaches.

Senior Andrew Royal-Adams has expressed having headaches or even fatigue from being in bright settings all day.

There are some probable solutions, some buildings like the East Hall and classrooms on the outside perimeter of West Hall have large windows that allow for natural light to illuminate the classrooms as an alternative to the overhead lights. Some classrooms like Darrick Hayman’s on the 2nd floor of the East Hall have the ability to turn off certain lights instead of having them all on, Natural light feeds people with energy; it has the ability to breathe life back into students that have been in brightly lit classrooms focusing hard on their studies.

But not all classrooms have the luxury of natural light. In fact, some classrooms in North Hall and Northeast Hall’s lack exterior windows altogether. At the very least, all classroom should have the option of a hard light dimmer and greater control to turn off certain lights in the classroom to offer a greater range of lighting options. Therefore, most students would have the opportunity to take a mental break from the big bright classrooms.

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