ISSUE 2: Bathroom Blockade

Bathroom shut downs: is this the only solution?

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Photo Juno Le

Cameron McFarland (’23) makes a disappointed expression next to the out of order sign in outside of one of the closed bathrooms. When students leave class to use the restroom, they’re now searching for one that’s open. “It’s a waste of time to be looking for a bathroom while I should be in class,” McFarland said.

Sela Teplin, Guest Contributor

The human right to sanitation. As stated in the 2015 United Nations General Assembly, “everyone, everywhere, has the right to a toilet.” Why does T.R Robinson High School, being the profound and law-abiding school that it is, not adhere to this right? School administration emphasizes the importance of being on time, being present, wearing non-distracting clothes, yet the most disrupting activity for students is the long journey across the school on a hunt to find an open restroom.

Speaking from personal experience, in an attempt to find a bathroom from Mrs. Sanford’s biology class, it took me longer to find the bathroom and wait in line than it would have been if I walked two laps around the school. This long search was a direct result of my peers and my administrators being too stubborn to see eye to eye with one another.

To try and understand the reasoning behind these shutdowns, I put myself in various positions. For example, what to do when students are skipping class and violating school property? A reasonable solution would be to go straight to the source…  the bathroom. A contrasting position would be those students involved. They are in search of a moment to themselves during a stressful school day, where they can escape all anxieties and pressure of the classroom.

While I can understand the intense pressures of the school day, it has led me and my peers, who have no interest in said activity, to constantly worry if there will be a bathroom to alleviate our bladders. Rather than closing down an area that is necessary for all students, why not implement more time during the school day to take a break from studies?

By integrating just ten minutes during the school day for students to cool off, both the students and administration would benefit greatly. As far as our bathroom Basquiats, why not promote artistic exploration differently? Instead of covering the bathrooms with black paint to cover our school’s character, offer more opportunities for students to get involved in the school artistically. Preventing a student’s right to urinate should not be the first solution.

I am not even beginning to dive into the biological problems it could cause in the long term. It is vital to keep in mind that females go through menstrual cycles, by closing off bathrooms, the administration is taking away a place for women to change feminine products. If they are unable to change their feminine products within a reasonable amount of time, it could potentially cause Toxic Shock Syndrome. Both menstrual cycles, as well as urination, are two human functions that are completely out of a student’s control, if the roles were reversed and the administration had to wait longer than necessary to urinate or change a feminine product, I can guarantee that they would not be pleased. Even if a student is going during passing period, they may be late to class because they were A) Unable to find a bathroom or B) Waiting in line to use the bathroom because there is an insufficient number available.

After speaking with my fellow peers, we have come to a consensus. The entire student body should not be punished for a select group’s decisions. We must start to keep the well-being of the student body in mind, rather than just a select group.