Washington Elementary students need microphones to talk

By Jessica Olthof, photo by Barbara Benton

SAN JOSE, Calif.—For an elementary school here, the traditional “talking stick” (teaching patience and consideration) has been replaced with microphones.

Students at Washington Elementary School have to take turns using wireless microphones to be heard over the continuous noise from airplanes from the nearby San Jose International Airport.

Teachers also use small microphones in the older buildings, which are mostly located where the planes are loudest.

Newer classrooms have been soundproofed, but during outdoors activities such as lunch or recess, the problem worsens, as a majority of the school’s playgrounds and lunch tables are located directly under the flightpath.

For staff and students the sound is never-ending.

“The students and teachers have gotten used to it,” Vice Principal Samantha Araiza said. “They will just take a pause in what they are doing” when a jet passes overhead.

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