Senior Benjamin Johnson applies sunscreen before starting afternoon band rehearsal. The band rehearsed from 4:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Sept. 11, the first day since the beginning of the school year that temperatures weren’t 95 degrees Fahrenheit and above.
Senior Benjamin Johnson applies sunscreen before starting afternoon band rehearsal. The band rehearsed from 4:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Sept. 11, the first day since the beginning of the school year that temperatures weren’t 95 degrees Fahrenheit and above.
Olivia Evans

Triple Threat

Record high temperatures raise health concerns for students and staff

The current rise in temperatures are causing concerns throughout the state regarding the heat. With temperatures as hot as 110 degrees Fahrenheit, discussions focus on climate change and its consequences, but there has been less emphasis on the negative and deadly effects heat has on the body’s health.



The environment in which students learn — the classrooms — have been affected by temperature fluctuations due to poor air-conditioning, despite new air-conditioning units. 

“[The air-conditioning] has definitely presented a number of challenges for [staff and students],” principal Amy Boughton said. “[The air-conditioning] is frustrating. It’s frustrating for the teachers; so [the administration] is trying to get portable [air-conditioning] units and communicate with [faculty].” 

Lewisville ISD passed a $737 million bond package in 2017, which, among other things, funded a “20-year refresh” for Hebron. Part of the money the school received from the 2017 Bond funded new air-conditioning systems throughout the school.

Starting last year, numerous classrooms were affected by poor air-conditioning. During this school year, there was an all-time high of 27 classrooms with temperature related issues at once, and as of Sept. 19, there were 21. Several students and teachers are sitting in classrooms as hot as 80 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 90 minutes daily. 

At the beginning of the year, food science teacher Katherine Carriker arrived on campus to her classroom and noticed the “poor ventilation” of the air-conditioning system. Carriker has four and a half hours of teaching food science classes every day, and said she was worried about students’ retaining information because of the heat.

“My whole hallway was having problems [with poor air-conditioning],” Carriker said. “I was really nervous with turning all of the ovens on at once. It’s a very active class, too; we’re all moving [while cooking].”

Teachers have been offered to move classrooms and allowed to keep their doors open to promote air flow. Carriker, however, is unable to move classrooms due to her class’s curriculum needing ovens, stovetops and refrigerators. 

“I have to fan myself and make sure I drink a lot of water,” Carriker said. “I’m in my classroom from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and it’s uncomfortable and hot. We got a portable [air conditioning] unit, which helped, but it’s in the way of our equipment shelves.” 

Senior Wendy Diep is currently enrolled in Carriker’s first period food science class. Diep parks near the arena, which is a five minute walk to the school’s entrance, but due to the heat, she said it feels much longer.

“It takes me at least 30 minutes to cool down [after getting to class],” Diep said. “Every morning, I come into school hoping it’ll be cooler because the walk from my car to school is really hot — but it’s even hotter in the actual class. I’m always stressed that I have sweat stains on my shirt.”

Diep said the heat is all her friends talk about. Additionally, she said she believes it has an impact on her personal learning in her affected classes.

“It makes me really angry and tired,” Diep said. “Being hot makes me not want to focus. My attention span is a lot shorter; I’m too focused on cooling down and making sure I don’t look like I just ran a marathon.”

Counseling and mental health Jacqueline Rans has been teaching inside hot classrooms since last school year. Rans’s classroom is in the same hallway as Carriker’s, but does not include kitchen equipment, yet their classrooms are about the same temperature.

“From Christmas to May [last year], [the air-conditioning system] was pretty much not cooling,” Rans said. “[The classroom] would be 76 to 78, and then you add 31 kids in here, it’s a fairly small room, and it would get really hot and humid.” 

Rans was instructed by administration to send work orders in for her air-conditioning system’s lack of cooling. A single work order turned into dozens, then “too many to count.” She continued submitting work orders daily until nearly the end of the school year, but she said that an assistant principal sent out a message to all teachers, stating that they were receiving work orders and fixing what they could. 

Rans said she was hoping she wouldn’t have to return to a hot classroom this school year. However, her classroom’s temperature now tends to fluctuate according to the weather outside.  

“It was cool for the first week, then it started getting hot the second week of school,” Rans said. “It would start low at the [beginning] of the day, but as the heat climbed outside and kids coming in and out of the classroom, the temperature just got hotter and hotter. Last year, it was to the point where I’d just be sitting here sweating. I [felt] like I could pass out because of the heat and humidity with no air blowing.”

The administration has been waiting on several new air conditioning parts from POGUE construction, and the only way to combat the fluctuations of air-conditioning systems is to provide teacher’s with multiple alternatives, according to Boughton. 

“Teacher’s [want to] come back, they want to set up their rooms; that’s a huge part of the experience for them and their students,” Boughton said. “[The temperature’s] a problem [the school] is going to continue to face.”


Extracurriculars: Band

Marching band relies on the use of outdoor concrete practice fields and football fields, and without any specialized indoor facilities to practice, students have to rehearse outside despite the heat. With accommodations and adjustments, students still continue to feel the effects of the sun. 

Sophomore Ashlynn Wood is a member of band and has a history of experiencing heat related issues and symptoms. After being in direct sunlight for only 15 to 20 minutes during a dance practice, for example, Wood said she started to feel dizzy and everything went black. Since the experience, Wood said she is more prone to heat-related illnesses during band rehearsal.

“[When] we have to be outside for longer rehearsals, the more time in the sun and heat exhausts [my] body really fast,” Wood said. “Whenever I’m outside in the sun for a while before [the band] has a shade-break, everything slows down. [I] don’t feel like myself.”

Due to high heat indexes, the band directors and officers shifted the rehearsal schedule. From Aug. 14 to Aug. 25, the band practiced at 6:45 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. every day, with an additional two and a half hour block on Tuesday afternoons. 

“[Morning rehearsals] were a lot better on the heat side because we didn’t have the sun right on us,” Wood said. “It just made [rehearsal] a lot easier to focus on what I was doing and not be all over the place in between [reps.]”

The band eventually switched back to evening rehearsals, but one of the propositions of the bond on the ballot for November is to build a new recreational facility for extracurriculars. This would offer a full size 100-yard football field for band, football, ROTC and Silver Wings to practice in when weather conditions get harsh, Boughton said. 

“I have concerns about, ‘Are the temperatures going to continue to rise?’” Boughton said. “Are we going to continue to look at students having to be [outside] in 100 to 108 temperatures? If that’s the case, then [the recreational center] would be hugely beneficial.”


Extracurriculars: Track

From practicing sprints to running races, track and field students have numerous experiences with the heat. As the physically intense and stressful exercises wear on their body, the addition of heat related concerns has forced coaches to come up with different methods while still preparing students for upcoming races. 

Track and cross country practice year-round, with morning practices starting at 6:45 a.m. and lasting until 8:30 a.m. every day of the week. Head coach Chance Edwards said the temperature is more manageable in the morning when the temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a cross country meet held a couple weeks ago wasn’t over until 10 p.m. and the temperature was still 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The elemental change and how [students] bodies will manage it [affects them],” Edwards said. “It’s harder to breathe as [their] body’s heat up with the temperature.”

In a usual practice, students are expected to run two to five miles, do dynamic warm-ups as a group and do cool-down runs. However, many of these activities have been altered due to climbing temperatures deemed “black zones” in the district, Edwards said. 

“We can’t really go with all the protocols, [the team] has to go inside or do something different,” Edwards said. “We can’t just shut down and take breaks. Protocol suggests to take breaks, but the nature of the sport does not allow that. We just have to go inside and keep going.”

Edwards has been coaching for 16 years and came to Hebron two years ago, and said he has had to constantly adapt with changing weather conditions. While trying to keep the energy of the team up, Edwards said he struggles to find enjoyment while coaching due to the less than favorable conditions. 

“It’s miserable at times; [the team and I] go out there and it’s 110 degrees [Fahrenheit],” Edwards said. “It never cools down, but [we] have to keep [practicing] and waiting for the cold fronts. We live for those moments and it feels a little nicer.”


Students’ wellbeing

With concerns over recent temperatures sparking conversation among younger generations, the primary focus over the last couple of years pertained to climate change. However, with recent spikes of heat in Texas, the conversation has shifted to the wellbeing of the people. 

With the rise in heat related emergencies, heat strokes have become a common illness for people in the United States this summer. The symptoms of a heat stroke can include sweating, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness and sweating, according to University of Texas at Austin registered nurse Naziya Kurji.

“Once you [have had] heat-related illnesses, it could be easily identified so [you] could prevent it from happening,” Kurji said. “But it could make you more susceptible [to] them.”

Kurji suggested the implementation of specialized indoor facilities for certain activities, so students aren’t forced to stay in the heat, and coaches, directors and teachers aren’t having to move around schedules and shift lesson plans. One of the bond proposals is a new recreational center for extracurriculars, voting to put this proposition in action starts on Oct. 23 to actual voting day on Nov. 7.

“[The heat] is absolutely terrible,” Kurji said. “I can’t believe [students practice] in this heat. With the money [the district] has at the high school, they could easily get a practice facility for arts or band. If they can spend that much on their football field, they can spend that much on helping their students.”

As September begins with recent cold fronts, the impact the heat has on the body still persists. Kurji marks the need for change to give students a fighting chance at combating this deadly heat wave. 

“These summers are just gonna get hotter, and [the school] should do something about it,” Kurji said. “[Change] needs to be done, and [the students] are the [staff’s] responsibility at the end of the day. I hope something happens, because it’s not fair to [the student body] at all.”

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

“The Hawk Eye” comment section welcomes engagement from readers. Within the comment section, we are dedicated to maintaining a respectful community; therefore, we reserve the right to protect the website from: derogatory comments, comments deemed to be spam, comments that include links that lead to harmful websites, comments using vulgar language and statements that attack another person. “The Hawk Eye” has the right to protect the website through removing comments that are viewed as harmful. We will make every effort to maintain the integrity of the comment section by allowing as many comments as possible, but if a comment violates the comment policy, we reserve the right to edit or delete the comment at any time without notice. If you feel your comment has been excluded, edited or removed by error, please contact us through our contact form.
All The Hawk Eye Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *