Bathrooms: to use, not abuse


When students leave trash in the bathrooms, they make the bathroom experience worse for their peers and make cleanup harder for the maintenance staff. Students should respect the bathrooms, clean up after themselves and think about whether their actions would be acceptable at home. Graphic by Jaden Cho

Bursting through the door, I ran inside the bathroom located across from the fieldhouse. I had five minutes until track practice began, and I needed to use the bathroom. Of course, since it was the end of the school day, the bathroom was packed with girls who were also headed to practices. As I rushed through the bathroom searching for an open stall, I found one left. Perfect. As I reached to close the stall door, I tried to find the lock, but there wasn’t one. 

One of the most mortifying experiences of my life was having to use a bathroom stall that was missing a lock. Having to ask someone to hold the stall door closed while simultaneously being in a rush was definitely not something I want to experience again.

Beyond the locks, school bathrooms frequently have toilet paper littered all over the floors, unflushed toilets and trash that never made it to the trash can. The bathroom experience doesn’t have to be enjoyable, but it should definitely be sanitary.

When students toss toilet paper on the ground or miss the garbage cans when throwing away paper towels and menstrual products, they create an unsanitary environment for themselves and their peers. Not only are these acts unfair to other students, but they also produce extra work for the custodial staff.

Students not taking the time to pick up after themselves is disrespectful, rude and careless. The school bathrooms are used frequently throughout the day, a significantly greater amount than bathrooms are used at home. This makes the school bathrooms harder to maintain than bathrooms at home. Students may not keep their bathrooms squeaky clean at home, but that doesn’t mean they should do the same to the school bathrooms.

To help keep the bathrooms clean and allow students to be in contact with custodial staff, there should be an anonymous reporting system. QR codes can be added outside each bathroom. Students can then scan the code, leading to an anonymous Google Form to report issues like empty paper towel dispensers or toilets that are flooded.

In the school bathrooms, students need to think about whether their actions would be tolerated at home. Even though it is not the students’ responsibility to clean the bathrooms, it is important for them to treat the bathrooms with respect. Speaking out when there are issues with the bathrooms will resolve them more efficiently.