Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Right-Handed Desk

There is a sinister problem that pervades American schools for up to ten percent of the student population that few people consider worthy of solving. The 10% minority faces bias because they are ignored and often forced to join the right culture.

The word for "left" in Latin is "sinister." Student desks (and most other academic equipment) are almost always made for right-handed students. The unfortunate part about this problem is that people who are right-handed tend to minimize the problem for the roughly 10% of students that are left-handed.

There are two issues to consider before we discuss the results of forcing left-handed students (or ignoring the needs of left-handed students) to write at right-handed desks. One issue is the availability of desks designed for left-handed students. Many school systems have left-handed desks available to students. Placing a left-handed student at a separate desk designed for them makes them "separate but equal." They stand out among their peers just as African American students stood out in their separate but equal schools. The second issue is the availability of unbiased seating that can be comfortably used by both right and left-handed students, thus integrating the 10% minority into the general school population.

It is an easy matter these days to do a computer search (if you are left handed, use a left-handed mouse) on the effects of left-handed students sitting at right-handed desks. My young friend, Dr. Mayer Green, a chiropractor in Maryland, would undoubtedly support the fact that a left-handed student who contorts his or her body around a right-handed desk will suffer chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain. Thus, the issue is certainly worthy of a national campaign by chiropractors to stop school systems from abusing 10% of their students.

There are surveys of things that happen to left-handed students during their school career. Do any parents of left-handed students hear complaints about their sons and daughters being fidgety, having problems paying attention, cheating on tests, taking too long to complete timed exams, etc? Would anyone in the mental health field be the least bit interested in finding out how many students who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder are left-handed. I doubt it, because fixing the problem by simply changing desks would probably result in a huge reduction in the number of prescriptions written for medicine to keep them focused (medication that is unnecessarily prescribed).

Please do a search on the problem of handedness in the schools. You may save your child's school career. Start with