Students mistreat Science Wing: Administration takes action


Dirty tables and a mess of chairs lie around the first flow of the STEM wing commons area even after Mr. Meyer announced its closure to students Nov. 12.

Abandoned face masks lie helplessly on the front steps. An empty can of Arizona ice tea peeks out from behind a syrup-stained Adirondack chair. A charcoal-black mold slowly consumes a desolate orange.

This is the current scene plaguing the recently-constructed STEM wing at 115 Greenough. Despite being an architecturally interesting and popular common area, its appeal is marred by litter and vandalism, diminishing the welcoming vibe the space originally strived to encompass.

Freshman Teddy Brooks takes Restaurant and Culinary Careers 1. He appreciates the space in the wing.

“I find that when you look at the other parts of the school, it’s very closed off, there’s a lot of crowding and it’s hard to get to classes,” Brooks said.

Despite being a fan of the wing’s design, Brooks is not a fan of the litter.

“It’s very unnecessary and disrespectful. It’s really annoying because I find myself picking up trash outside,” he said. “There are trash cans all over where you can throw away your things.”

Head Custodian Jim Mellett is also not happy with the trash and vandalism. Mellett said that people have been clogging up sinks and urinals in the men’s rooms in an attempt to create floods. He also said that graffiti has been found there as well.

“There are two specific tags: one looks like it says ‘mob,’ with a picture of an angel; we’ve been calling it ‘Mob Angel.’ I couldn’t make out what the other one said,” Mellet said.

No one has complained about the graffiti being offensive, but Mellett doesn’t condone the vandalism.

“It’s not right. We have plenty of whiteboards in the new science wing,” Mellett said. “Draw your little tag on that, let people see it for a few days, then have it get erased. That way you’re not hurting anybody.”

In an email on Oct. 24, Head of School Anthony Meyer announced that if the littering continued in the commons area of the wing, it would be closed to students Nov. 2. On Nov. 12 at 3 p.m Meyer made an announcement about the closing of the science wing.

In an email to The Sagamore Nov. 16, Meyer said he was “incredibly disappointed” in the small number of students who do not clean up after themselves.

“It is maddening. As an administration, we try to make rules, policies, and decisions based on the majority of our students who do the right thing and take care of our public spaces and one another,” Meyer said. “We are planning to limit access to the Commons area after school unless the cleanliness and mask-wearing do not vastly improve. These changes would occur after our return from Thanksgiving,”

According to Science Curriculum Coordinator Ed Wiser, the closures are due to both littering and logistic challenges.

“Students are congregating and using the spaces well, but sometimes it’s not going so well. We need more supervision,” Wiser said. “Right now, teachers have to walk all the way to Old Lincoln School and back so we don’t have enough teachers to supervise the common spaces after school. We need more administrators to be able to do that.”

Wiser said the architects have planned lots of common areas in the new buildings like the STEM wing because they noticed that a lot of students hang out in front of the high school after the school day ends.

“Part of that crowd of students is spilling into the overflow area right now. That’s going to change with the weather here and there, but also once Tappan Street opens up, there will be more places for the students to mingle and socialize in those 20–45 minutes after school,” Wiser said. “I think what’s happening in the STEM wing right now will start to change automatically once we open up those other spaces.”

Astronomy and 9th Grade physics teacher Andre Derrien thinks the expansiveness is one of the best parts of the new STEM wing.

“Having all the space has been great. I’ve utilized it with my own classes, having kids work in groups and use the whiteboards in the hallway,” Derrien said.

According to the Brookline High School website, the idea to expand the high school was brought up in 2007, with Hill Associates and William Rawn Associates entering the equation in 2017 and the Skanska construction firm joining the project in 2018.

Construction commenced the following year, finishing up promptly before the start of the 2021-22 school year. The total project budget in 2021 was $238 million, a lofty price tag adding the costs of the new STEM wing and other ongoing construction projects such as the partial renovations to the Tappan Street Gym and the new building at 111 Cypress Street, among others.

However, the privilege of expensive new buildings comes with the responsibility to keep them clean, according to Brooks.

“We have got to clean our act up,” Brooks said.