Vandalism forces bathroom closures

Keilee Takata, Writer, Editor

Hoping I would have enough time to get to my second period class before the bell sounded, I grabbed a lavatory pass and made my way to the second floor bathrooms one advisory period in late November. There I found a slow-moving line of at least 20 girls all waiting to use the bathrooms. When I finally entered, the air was thick and warm and there were pieces of toilet paper and tampon wrappers strewn across the floor. Drops of water sprayed around the room as the girls, without paper towels, shook their hands dry.

The girls’ and boys’ bathrooms on the first and third floors, as well as the all-gender bathroom on the second floor, closed shortly before Thanksgiving break, forcing many students to use only the second floor bathrooms. Since then, the girls’ bathrooms on the third and first floors have been reopened.

Principal Dr. Barbara Morse said this decision was a response to a multitude of things, including vandalism, misuse of school supplies, and lack of supervision.

She said graffiti targeting individual students was found in the girls’ bathrooms while property defacement and destruction was found in the boys.

Many students with classes on the first and third floors are having difficulties finding time in their day to use the bathrooms.

Avery Grelle, freshman, said, “I have to write notes [in my class] and I have to go to the bathroom but I have to go downstairs and that takes time away from class.”

Contrary to popular belief, vaping did not cause the closures on the first and third floors, but in the all-gender bathroom. 

“The vape detectors are working very well, but there was an issue with the one in the gender neutral bathroom,” Morse said.

Dr. Morse said she wanted the all-gender bathrooms to be a safe space for all students to use. However, “They became a coed hangout space.”

Teachers have been placed outside of the second and third floor bathrooms to monitor the students entering and exiting the facility. Teachers can fill their free periods by either supervising PLTs or being given duties — monitoring the bathrooms counts as a duty.

“[The vandalism] has gotten worse with the Tik Tok trend.” Morse said.

Towards the beginning of the school year, devious licks, a trend in which students record themselves stealing or vandalizing school property (especially in bathrooms) gained popularity, with many videos going viral on platforms like Tik Tok. Although the trend has died down online, the vandalism has not.

Morse said that it is much easier to catch the culprits when they record and post videos of themselves destroying school property online.

Morse also notes that the majority of students are being civil in the bathrooms. “I estimate there are only five students ruining it for everyone,” she said, disappointed that the rest of the student body has to be affected.

As courteous behavior increases and vandalism decreases in the bathrooms, students should expect to see the rest opened.