In Lewis Carroll’s book, Through the Looking Glass, Alice (who previously visited Wonderland) finds herself in a world in which everything is backwards. Objects that had been on her right side are now located to the left. Doors that opened inward now open outward. When she wants to move to the left, Alice finds her body moving to the right.
As imaginative and far-fetched as Alice’s adventures may seem, they are a reality for almost 13% of the world’s population: left-handed people. To the average lefty, living in a predominantly right-handed world is much like taking up full-time residence in Alice’s looking glass. To us, everything IS backwards. And while we southpaws have adapted to our very own bizarro-world, we often feel the strain of living in a world that is not designed for us. Laws that require businesses and schools to offer equal opportunities to everyone — regardless of race, creed, appearance, sexual orientation, political leaning, or physical ability — do not apply to left-handedness. And that is why I feel that left-handed people are discriminated against in the one place that should be the least biased and the most tolerant of diversity: schools.
The most obvious element of left-handed discrimination in schools is seating. In most classrooms, desks are designed for the right-handed writer, with an arm rest for the right elbow, and nothing but air for the left. Although there are some left-handed desks available, the number of lefty students usually outnumbers the desks, and these desks are typically placed in the back of the room, where the student can write just fine, but he can’t hear or see very well. This trade-off is unacceptable, and can often affect the student's grades--and possibly his behavior. In addition, because the left arm is not offered the same support as the right arm, a left-handed student is forced to contort his entire body into an awkward and uncomfortable position, which, according to the Handedness Research Institute, may make him susceptible to back, neck and shoulder pain. Some students have complained of muscle spasms, severe lower back pain, and carpal-tunnel syndrome, all attributed to the forced usage of right-biased desks.