Leadership Symposium Early Bird Deadline Approaching | Join K-12 leaders nationwide for three days of empowering strategies, networking, and inspiration! Discounted pricing ends March 1. Register today.
School Climate & Safety

Loud Complaints Over Noise Rules

By Katie Ash — May 08, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A state law regulating noise standards for classrooms in Connecticut is drawing quite a racket from officials in a small school district near Hartford.

The 3,272-student Colchester district ran into problems when it brought in portable classrooms to relieve overcrowding at Bacon Academy, the district’s public high school, which is about 150 students over capacity. Before the school could put them to use, officials were informed by the state department of education that the portables no longer met noise standards under the new law.

The law, passed two years ago, requires the background-noise level for classrooms in all grade levels to be no higher than 35 decibels—about as loud as the average suburban house with humming appliances and little other noise.

“The assumption was made that we would be grandfathered in for this [regulation],” said Karen A. Loiselle, the superintendent of Colchester public schools. The portables, which were being relocated from one of the district’s elementary schools to Bacon Academy after eight years of use, were allowed exceptions on a number of other facility regulations.

The acoustic regulations were suggested by the Washington-based American National Standards Institute, which recommends standards for a variety of businesses and industries. The recommendations are based on guidelines from the Melville, N.Y.-based Acoustical Society of America.

Ms. Loiselle said she has been told by officials in the industry that “a portable classroom cannot possibly be built” in accordance with the standard. In a news release, the Charlottesville, Va.-based Modular Building Institute said it is working with the Acoustical Society of America to draft a supplement for the existing guidelines.

The law based on the standard has caused a bit of inconvenience in Colchester. Today, the portable classrooms sit unused in the parking lot of Bacon Academy while students inside are taught in equipment-storage areas and the cafeteria.

“Our priority is to ensure we have the use of the classrooms this fall,” said Ms. Loiselle. “We need to be able to get them installed.”

The district has asked lawmakers to revise the law before they adjourn in June and is requesting a waiver allowing the classrooms to be used on a short-term basis.

Tom Murphy, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Education, said the state is “inclined to support that request.”

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Connecticut. See data on Connecticut’s public school system.

A version of this article appeared in the May 09, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety School Dress Codes Often Target Girls. What Happens When Male Teachers Have to Enforce Them?
Male teachers say the task can put them in a risky and uncomfortable position.
11 min read
Image of articles of clothing on a coat hook outside a school entrance.
Laura Baker/Education Week via Canva
School Climate & Safety Are School Buses Safe? An Expert Explains
A perennial concern is getting new attention.
4 min read
Photo of rescue workers and turned over school bus.
Brandy Taylor / iStock / Getty Images Plus
School Climate & Safety Jury Finds Michigan School Shooter’s Mother Guilty of Manslaughter
Jennifer Crumbley was accused of failing to secure a gun and ammunition at home and failing to get help for her son's mental health.
2 min read
Jennifer Crumbley arrives in court on Feb. 5, 2024 in Pontiac, Mich.
Jennifer Crumbley arrives in court on Feb. 5, 2024 in Pontiac, Mich.
Carlos Osorio/AP
School Climate & Safety A School Removed Bathroom Mirrors to Keep Students From Making TikToks. Will It Work?
The desperate strategy for keeping students in class illuminates the challenge schools face in competing with social media.
5 min read
Empty blue school bathroom showing the bathroom sinks without mirrors.
iStock/Getty