Staff Editorial: Bathroom issues cause student concern

More consistency needed from administration

Trash+is+left+in+the+sink+in+the+A3+hallways+boys+bathroom.+Students+have+raised+concerns+over+the+cleanliness+of+Park+bathrooms.

Aiden Shafton

Trash is left in the sink in the A3 hallways boys’ bathroom. Students have raised concerns over the cleanliness of Park bathrooms.

With a rise in concern regarding bathrooms at Park, students are left with inconsistent expectations. Teachers are holding the bathroom rules to different standards and it is concerning students. While some teachers are utilizing the sign in/sign out sheet and the bathroom passes, others fail to acknowledge their existence.

Bathroom passes are one way that Park is attempting to keep track of students and clear hallways. The bathroom pass can not be used within the first and last 10 minutes of class. If you have to go within that time frame, students receive a partial absence.

The pass rule is having a tremendous effect on students and is making it a challenge to use the bathroom at all. In some classes, if the pass gets lost or stolen, students can not use the bathroom for the class period. Other consequences include the teacher revoking the pass from the class for a week if it is gone for an extended period of time. The Echo Editorial board believes that the consequences of misusing the bathroom pass are unrealistic and unfair to students who are not taking advantage of the pass.

The bathroom pass is inconvenient for various reasons. It becomes especially challenging to use the restroom on Wednesdays because class periods are shorter. In addition, larger class sizes are severely impacted by the pass system because they are responsible for fairly distributing the pass to students who need it. Fair distribution becomes a challenge when students consistently misuse the pass and ruin it for other students.

Overall cleanliness and quality of the bathrooms is another concern. Students at Park have been providing their own hand soap because there is none remaining in the bathrooms. There is also a lack of working toilets and working sinks. While students can contribute to a clean bathroom space, it is not their job to fix sinks, fix toilets and provide their own soap. The Echo Editorial board believes that there are more janitorial issues than restrictive issues in regards to bathrooms at Park.

Another persistent issue at Park is the accessibility of gender neutral bathrooms. It is a major inconvenience to students who want to relieve themselves in a safe space. Making gender neutral bathrooms accessible is a safety issue and locking them by choice when they are in full function to be used is questionable. Administration has made it clear that they are aware of this issue, yet they have not taken steps to solve it.

Students should not be denied comfort and safety and Park should not pick and choose which students to protect. Those who are more comfortable using the gender neutral bathrooms should be allowed to do so without question. That being said, Park should create a system that allows all students to use their preferred bathroom safely. An approach at this may be a system in which students have a sticker code implemented in their student ID that allows them access to scan into the at-large lab bathroom. Rather than keeping it either locked or unlocked, those who need access to that restroom will have it. 

Moving forward, it is important that the administration considers consistency among teachers and the reality of students when creating rules. The Echo Editorial board unanimously believes that Park should make bathrooms more accessible for all students and students should help take responsibility in keeping bathrooms clean.