Why admin locks restrooms

Ella Newman, Social Media Director

28th November, 2022

A sign on the wing 100 girls bathroom on October 27th. (Photo Credit: Ella Newman)

We have a total of five girls restrooms on Arcata High campus; one at the end of wing 100, one upstairs, two at the gym, and one by the quad.

On October 27th, several girls had complained about the wing 100 girls bathroom being locked, This is also only one of two restrooms on campus that provide tampons and pads. The girls quad restroom is frequently locked, as well as the two at the gym.

We only have four boys restrooms on campus. There are two at the gym, one at the front of the school, and one in the quad. The ones at the gym, like the girls restrooms, are not often open and are far away from classrooms. The one at the front of the school by the center stairwell is locked frequently as well.

Senior Chase Coleman confirmed that, “They’re locked at least three times a week,” Coleman said.

Multiple restrooms being locked at a time without warning has been an ongoing issue since on-campus school resumed in 2021.

The result of multiple restrooms for both genders being locked at a time leads to a goosechase of trying to find one that’s unlocked. This causes students to miss class time and get in trouble since many teachers give only five minutes.
“It seems like whenever I need to use the bathrooms they’re locked. It’s majorly inconvenient,” senior Cedar Birdsall said.

Seniors Lila Wolf and Sienna Rother also expressed their frustration about the restrooms being locked.
Rother explained that, ¨During 6th period, I have art and I find it very frustrating that I have to walk across the school just to go to the bathroom because the one right by my classroom is locked, especially when a teacher only gives you five minutes.¨

Wolf agreed,¨I believe it’s very dumb and some teacher’s won´t even let us go to the bathroom while we’re in class. Someone will ask to go to the bathroom during class or at class break and they will say, ´no, you can hold it´, so when there are teachers that don’t let you go and when there´s bathrooms that are closed what do they want us to do?¨

Bathroom breaks are preferred by the school to be used during our 10 minute break and our 40 minute lunch period, so I asked the same students if they use the restrooms at those times.

¨No. The lines are always too long so I’ll never be able to go before the bell rings. At lunch I always go off campus and when I have to come back they’re always locked anyways,” Rother said.

¨I always try to go but I have to debate eating a snack and going to the bathroom. Sometimes I choose a snack but when I go back to class I’m not allowed to go to the bathroom,” Wolf added.

Why are the restrooms being locked?

Principal Ron Perry explained that the restrooms on campus are getting locked due to maintenance issues being caused by students. These include purposefully clogging the toilets with garbage or food, vandalism, or excessive groups of students hanging out in the restrooms.

Perry explained that vandalism is the main issue in the girls restrooms. According to Perry, upcoming alternatives to locking restrooms on campus are vape detectors and cameras facing the door of the restroom (which will be installed either after Fall or Winter break), sign in/out sheets in every classroom, a better counselor support system, and continuing to try and enforce authority and expectations.

Even if a student goes into the restroom and is falsely accused of setting off the vape detector or vandalizing the stalls due to another student, they will miss class time and be questioned in the office.

He also explained that both quad restroom doors are kept wide open so that if he walks by, even as a male in regards to the girl’s restroom, he can immediately see if there are too many girls in there or if there’s a general “bathroom issue.”

Perry wants juniors and seniors to encourage other students to stop ruining our restrooms, and realizes that’s uncomfortable for admin to lock bathrooms.

”It pains me because it’s not really fair to the rest of the kids that do it right,” Perry said.

He added that teachers, including himself, check in on bathrooms frequently throughout the day for damage and mischief.

“It’s silly because what happens is the selfishness and thoughtlessness of those individuals who are abusing the space are not only impacting their classmates, but they’re really impacting the adults on campus who have to care for the campus and clean it. If I caught one of those individuals, I would have them apologize to Mr. Hogan and the custodial crew,” Perry said.

Perry confirms, “I want all the bathrooms open all the time. And I want to have a clearly accessible non-gender specific bathroom in the center of campus, and I want those who are ruining the bathrooms to face consequences.”