Blair ‘messiest school'

Oct. 4, 2002, midnight | By Izaak Orlansky | 19 years, 7 months ago

A Sept 11 Silver Chips survey of the 165 benches and tables in the SAC, the main and senior courtyards and Blair Blvd found that 93 benches and tables, or 56 percent, had trash on them after 5B lunch.

Walker is amazed at the amount of trash at Blair compared to that at Cold Spring Elementary School, where he previously worked. "The lunch left in a single day in the main hallway is enough for five years at the elementary school," he said.

Other janitorial staffers complained that students have neglected to pick up their trash since the opening of the new building. Building Services Manager James Brown said Blair students' messiness reflects their lack of respect for the school. "You don't leave [trash] at home and say that it's your mother's job to clean up," he said.

Magnet physics teacher Ralph Bunday, who last year began an effort to clean up Blair's act after a discussion in his Modern Urban World class, believes many Blazers leave trash for a momentary sense of freedom. "For some people, it's probably their only opportunity to experience privilege. They're not able anywhere else to just walk away and know that the next day it'll be clean," he said.

Senior Jimmy Tang blamed an atmosphere of littering students as one of the key reasons for why he has sometimes neglected to pick up after himself. "Everyone does it. Monkey see, monkey do," said Tang.

Because of the prevalence of littering, Brown said he must reallocate building service workers by assigning up to half of the janitorial staff to trash duty. This interferes with building services' responsibilities to clean and maintain the building in other areas, he said.

MCPS Operational Systems Director Diane Jones believes Blair has enough building service workers to operate. She noted that the allocation of building service workers in high schools is based on a square footage ratio in which one worker is assigned for each 19,000 square feet of building floor space. By that standard, Jones said, Blair has more workers per square foot than any MCPS high school except Whitman.

However, Brown said the square footage ratio is a poor measure for staff allocation, because it does not account for the six workers who work only four-hour shifts or have other priorities. Excluding these six workers from the equation, he said, Blair's current janitorial staff averages about 30,000 square feet per worker.

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Izaak Orlansky. Izaak Orlansky is a senior in the Communications Arts Program. His hobbies include cross-country running, swimming, and singing in the spring musical. Izaak is also a big fan of the Yankees, and likes playing with big fluffy dogs. More »

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