Microwave Mismanagement

An exposé on the unequal distribution of Sehome microwaves

Cicely Bergsma and Linnea DeVange

Every Sehome student has a different method of obtaining lunch. Some may wander down to Pizza Time while others wait in line for a school cooked meal, with even others bringing sustenance from home. Those who chose to bring cold food from home face a unique challenge – using a school microwave. With a 35 minute long lunch, if each student takes 5 minutes to heat up their lunch, only 7 students can use each microwave per lunch period… and that leaves the last couple users eating their lunch during 3rd period. The 1191 students who attend Sehome High School are left to battle over only two microwaves, both of which are hand-me-downs from the old school. That puts us at 14 students being able to use a microwave per lunch period… so 28 students total. Upstairs in the staff lounge, there are 4 microwaves… all of which are brand spanking new, provided by the Bellingham School District. Publicschoolreview.com states in the SHS 2020 profile that Sehome has 53 teachers. Let’s double that number just for fun. That puts us at 106. If we use those numbers, each student microwave has 595 users… with each staff microwave having only 13 users.

As if that weren’t enough, the four microwaves in the staff lounge are not the only ones Sehome staff have access to. Unbeknownst to many, every science teacher and many others have their own personal microwave, in their classroom to use as they please. The Bellingham School District provided every two science teachers with a fridge, dishwasher, and you guessed it -a microwave. You may be wondering why every science teacher would need a microwave. Mark Toney, Sehome physics teacher, said, “We use the dishwasher to wash our beakers and we keep brains and fetal pigs in the fridge.” When asked about the purpose of the school-provided microwave, Toney said, “Since I am a physicist I don’t really use the fridge for school stuff. I use it to heat up my smoked salmon pasta.”

Another science teacher admitted that unlike student lunch-havers she never has to wait in line to warm up her food. “I don’t really use them that much,” Amy Hankinson said when asked about the staff lounge microwaves. This article is not to suggest that teachers don’t deserve their own microwaves, but rather that funds should be distributed equitably to allow students more time and more efficiency in their lunch heating experience. If a majority of the teachers have their own microwave, and four brand new microwaves are in the staff lounge, the number of microwaves provided to students should be at least doubled. Many teachers agree with the illegitimacy of the microwave situation. “This is an outrage. You guys really should have more microwaves”, Charles Schelle Sehome physics teacher, said.

One of two microwaves belonging to the student body.
The staff lounge’s four new microwaves