Another day, another bathroom policy

ELISE AMARAL , Arts and Culture Editor

All around GHS bathrooms are locked and students are getting annoyed.

I have been at GHS for almost four years now, and in those four years I have experienced a number of bathroom policies that all seem to fail, or at least don’t last the way the administration had intended. 

In my time here, I have learned and adapted to patterns made by other students on when to go to the bathroom. During my freshman and sophomore years, many people would go into the bathroom during passing times and share various vape products.  

Despite not having participated in any vaping activity, I was always afraid of getting caught in the crossfire. If a teacher came in while others were vaping, would I be accused along with them? Because of this fear, I chose to go in the middle of class instead of during passing time,  even though I might miss part of a lesson or instructions. 

It was a dilemma.  Should I be more scared of being bopped, or of missing the middle of class?

The hybrid schedule last year was a breath of fresh air (literally). With fewer students, there were fewer issues in the bathrooms, right up until we came back full time. And while bathroom issues started up again, it still wasn’t that bad.

This year, however, more students are going into the bathrooms to skip class, hang out, and vandalize the space. It’s annoying for students who are just trying to use the facilities, especially when stalls are full of students not even using them. 

My classmates and I have noticed this is mostly an underclassman problem.  You will find them sitting on the ground, usually in groups in the big stall or outside of the stalls just chilling or chit chatting about who knows what.

Underclassmen, you’re not ‘cool’ for sitting in the bathroom to skip class, you’re the complete opposite. I am not trying to sound like an underclassmen hater, because I was an underclassmen once too, but this year it’s become an absurdity.

The vandalism that occurs in the bathrooms is ironic to me. Why would you vandalize a bathroom that you will have to use yourself? This is your school. Why vandalize your own space? 

This week, GHS administration took charge of these issues by putting new policies into place.

All bathrooms except for the first floor, are now locked during passing times. Only one student is allowed out of the classroom at a time, and teachers are now required to lock and unlock bathrooms on their hall duty periods. They also sit by the bathrooms, and maintain a bathroom log.

In order to use the bathroom, we need to get a pass from our classroom teacher, sign out of the classroom with name and time, sign into the bathroom with name and time, sign out of the bathroom with name and time, and then sign back into the classroom with name and time. That is a lot of signing. 

We are also not allowed to go to the bathroom in the first five, or last five, minutes of class. Which has traditionally been the best time to go for people don’t want to miss key instructional time.  Its also the least disruptive for teachers. Another rule is only three students are allowed in a bathroom at a time, which means sometimes you have to wait. 

I completely understand the administration’s stand point of trying to slow down vandalism and vaping, but it’s at the cost of every other student, the ones who actually follow the rules. 

You can’t focus on your work if you’re thinking more about using the bathroom. 

If you need to go, and are waiting for someone to return to class, the lack of open bathrooms and the three student per bathroom rule means it could be several or more minutes before they come back.  It also feels uncomfortable to have someone sitting outside the door noting how long you spend using the bathroom. This lack of privacy makes many students uncomfortable. 

Most people I know do not vape in the bathrooms. Most people I know do not vandalize the bathrooms. And for those of you who do, please stop. You are making it miserable for the rest of us. 

In the meantime, we all have to live with these new bathroom restrictions. For as long as they last.