In almost all school systems now smoking is not allowed anywhere on school grounds. In many cases teachers are not even allowed to smoke in their cars in the parking lot although some do and I am pretty sure that I have seen some shop teachers with that telltale bulge on their lower gum that indicates that they have “a sore tooth”
Before smoking was banned, before teachers lounge’s, before teacher’s bathrooms, the boiler room was the smoke-filled room of socialization in almost all schools. Usually controlled by a guy named Roy or Virgil it would have two or three bent rusty metal folding chairs, rescued from the trash, sitting on the rust stained un-sealed concrete floor. In rural districts most had a bottle of Clorox bleach that was being drip fed into drinking water lines to purify the well water. The boiler room was often oppressively warm, smelled of hot dust, and was lit by the light from one small window and a solitary 60 watt light bulb in an old brass socket hanging by a single cloth-covered wire in the center of the room.
In the boiler room there was total equality… principals, custodians, teachers, cooks salesman , the occasional parent and even the superintendent of schools knew that they were all cut from the same cloth once they opened the heavy metal door, went down the stairs, gathered around the galvanized bucket full of playground sand, and lit up.