Coun-sealing and Guidance embraces cuddly, furry initiative


Ce-Seal-ia Jones

Starting this school year, the Counseling and Guidance department has a furry replacement: in lieu of trained psychologists, each student will receive a personal therapeutic robot seal to meet their mental health needs.

In the wake of Riverdale and Fieldston’s robotic backpack carriers and butterfly sanctuary, previous Head of Counseling and Guidance, now Head of Seal Studies Dr. Sealma Sand decided that students’ well-being required a more technological, personalized approach. “If these seals work on dementia patients, they can work on Horace Mann students.”

The primary purpose of robot seals is to alleviate depression and anxiety through the clinically-tested method of emanating extreme cuteness. “Seals can soothe students’ nerves, reassure them of their worth, and coo on command,” Sand said. “Our human counselors could only do two of the three.”

The seals will live in the Jeffrey A. Loria Aquatic Center, which will expand to accommodate the animatronic sea-dwellers. “We plan to triple the size of the pool and convert the surrounding area into a zen garden with mini meeting ponds for students to get one-on-one time with their seals,” Facilities Manager Timothy Seashell said.

This new plan has left Water Polo Coach Dave Swimmer furious. “Waterpolo is the only team at this school with any potential for success,” he said. “If they don’t take Four Acres, I’m going clubbing, and I don’t mean the fun kind.”

Despite causing the school’s sports rating on to drop from a B- to a D, matching its environmental rating, the seal initiative has received positive feedback, Sand said. “Students complain that we spend too much time in HMO on the dangers of Halloween parties, and not enough time on the dangers of depression,” she said. “The seals take care of all that.”

The community has already begun to pick out names for the seals, spending countless hours in the art studio painting custom name tags for “Sealine Dion,” “Sea-lo Green,” and “Sealena Gomez,” amongst others. 

“I can’t wait to get out of class to heal my mental health with a seal break,” Charlie Sealer (10) said. “Who needs professional psychological advice when you have cute baby seals?”