The privilege to pee

Lack of clarity surrounding locked restrooms


Jacob Perszyk

Photo illustration by Jacob Perszyk

Maren Wilsey and Johanna Kaplan

Recently, Park has seen a number of bathroom closures throughout the school. 

Administration clarified that the C3 boys’ bathroom has been closed for maintenance, and they lack staff to monitor women’s bathrooms. Because of this, frustration has festered among the student body.

According to senior Juweriya Sherif, these closures force students to walk across the entire school to access a bathroom. 

“I remember (a) day where both of the women’s bathrooms were locked, and I found myself going all the way downstairs for a bathroom. Things like that should be accessible,” Sherif said. “Why should (someone else) tell me when I should be going to the bathroom.” 

For sophomore Mohamed Haret, bathroom closures prove to be an especially inconvenient obstacle throughout the school day. 

“Most of my classes are in C-hallway or B-Hallway, and I have to go all the way to A-Hallway or downstairs (to use the bathroom),” Haret said. “I’m late for class, I’m late for important learning.” 

Senior Nora Hall said students are unsatisfied with the lack of explanation from the administration. 

“(Administrators) definitely need to address it,” Hall said. “You have to give reasons for what you’re doing, especially when you’re the principal and you’re locking the bathroom.”

Assistant principal Derek Wennerberg said administrators admit to actively closing one of the women’s bathrooms. Despite this, he said that they don’t see it as inconveniencing students due to its location. 

“The C1 (bathroom) we decided to close because the location is not a reason a lot of students need to access that hallway,” Wennerberg said. “We did not feel that it was really removing access for students identifying as female.” 

Senior Siggy Cassuto said students understand there are issues with bathrooms being used to skip class in, but the current approach of simply closing them is not effective.

“We have a lot of problems with people hiding the bathrooms, but locking them up is not a solution because kids are just going to be in the hallways instead,” Cassuto said. “People need to go to the bathroom. It’s a basic right.”

Sophomore Ja’Nieya Thomas said the solution being used will only create more problems elsewhere in the school. 

“It’s just going to make one of the bathrooms more crowded because the other ones are closed,” Thomas said. 

According to Hall, students feel that the anger from staff is unjustified in response to students going out of their way or being late to class to access bathrooms.

“It’s a very basic human right to be allowed to go to the bathroom,” Hall said. “The only time we usually have to go to the bathroom is passing time. It’s not fair that they’re then locking the doors and blaming us like it’s our fault when we have to walk across the school.” 

Principal LaNisha Paddock said that Park will factor gender inclusive bathrooms into the upcoming construction plan.

“We have been in the process (and are) very adamant about making sure that we have gender inclusive bathrooms,” Paddock said. “What wasn’t negotiable for me is making sure that our students have access to bathrooms where they feel safe.”