By Jessica W ’22
With each new year comes new friends, classes, teachers, and even new rules. This year, students were introduced to the latest addition in our Winsor rulebook: no coffee or tea allowed in class. Though this rule seems pretty insignificant to some, as we are still allowed to drink these beverages in the cafeteria and bring water to class, several students have strong opinions on this most recent rule. I think that the new rule has the good intentions of keeping the school clean, but it also affects students’ daily lives at school. Though I am not an avid tea or coffee drinker, I thought it would be interesting to ask a few people their own views on this new regulation.
Emily Hou ’22 is often times spotted enjoying a nice cup of coffee in school. When I asked for her opinions on our newest rule, she said, “I need coffee. I do not want to sleep in class, and coffee and tea help keep me awake.” Studies have shown that caffeine can help boost one’s alertness and focusing ability, helping them stay awake and present. This is clearly evident in Emily’s case, and possibly many others, as coffee and tea are huge factors that help keep her mind open in class. And her eyes.
I also asked another student in Class VI, who prefers to stay anonymous, for her stance on this new rule. Her response is: “Personally, I think that not having food in class is understandable. However, the reasoning behind the tea/coffee rules’ implementation was never fully explained to the students. Coffee and tea do not leave behind crumbs. They are not a distraction, and they don’t cause harm to anyone.”
Finally, I interviewed Ms. Markenson, head of Upper School. She was on the committee that made the final decision to implement this rule. “The reason we made the rule is because there are some classrooms where it’s not safe to have any liquids at all, such as the computer lab. There were some mixed feelings in the faculty about whether we should allow only water in the classrooms or open it up for other food and drinks. In order to allow for consistency of enforcement, we decided to allow only water.”
As part of the school community, it is our responsibility to clean up after ourselves and maintain a neat, orderly environment. Keeping the school clean is the main purpose behind the rule. However, several students, including me, sometimes rely on coffee and tea to stay awake, as schoolwork and extracurriculars are starting to take up more time. Therefore, Ms. Markenson also noted that “if students can show that they can be responsible by cleaning up after themselves and keeping the building tidy, perhaps we can revisit this rule.” In order to get our coffee and tea back, students, let’s do just that!