No more comfy couches

New policy removes upholstered furniture from classrooms

Scenes like this are missing from Stratford this year upon the ban of couches and other upholstered lounge chairs.

Scenes like this are missing from Stratford this year upon the ban of couches and other upholstered lounge chairs. (Special to The Gazebo)

By CARLY WANNA Gazebo Editor

Jeffery Hale enjoyed sitting on Ms. Maddie Henderson’s couch during English class. He didn’t sleep or allow the couch to be a distraction. Rather, he felt it added to his learning environment.

When Henderson left at the end of last school year, she took her couch with her.

But Hale, a junior at Stratford, entered the school year to no couches at all.

“I’m upset because the desks are hard and then when you sit on the couch, you’re more comfortable so you can focus more in class,” he said.

The administration has banned upholstered furniture, specifically chairs and couches on which students could lounge.

Donna Kay McGoldrick, Stratford’s director of human resources, is following new recommendations that schools not have upholstered furniture due to transmission of head lice and sanitary issues.

When school official decided to address the question of furniture in the new lower school, they opted to extend the question of furniture to the entire school.

“The problem with something like a big over-stuffed chair or a big over-stuffed couch, even if it’s vinyl or leather and can be wiped down, is that kids are still lounging on them,” said upper school principal Margaret Brogdon. “Their heads are still rubbing against them, and they’re not going to be wiped down after everybody uses it.”

In addition to health concerns, the administration decided to prohibit  lounge chairs in order to promote a more attentive position in classrooms.

Brogdon denied rumors that inappropriate student conduct on the couches contributed to the ban.

“I’m not going to say it had to do with past inappropriate conduct on the couches, but I will say that it had to do with our feeling that maybe we didn’t need couches in classrooms anyway,” said Brogdon.

Some upper school teachers, including Mrs. Rachel Chabot, have supplemented the loss of couches with other chairs, such as beanbag chairs.

Bobby Stecher, chairman of the math department, felt couchless and sad at the start of the year. However, he plans to take the rule as a transition towards more traditional seating.

“I think we’re just going to sit with desks or standing or on the floor,” he said. “That will be good enough for me.”