Students frustrated by closed bathrooms


Jack O'Brien

Frequently, students were met with this sign when they sought an available bathroom.

Lyndsay Neitzel

On a Tuesday afternoon, near the end of September, Sr. Mariah Stewart was in physics class taking a test. She was already stressed about this particular subject. Nervous about not having enough time to finish, she raised her hand and bolted out of the classroom to the nearest bathroom, only to come to a sign, “DO NOT ENTER. BATHROOMS ARE CLOSED! *You will be suspended if you enter.*” She pondered her next steps. Stewart was confused and angry.

No one understood why they were closed, no one understood the meaning. The bathrooms were closed, not only upstairs, but downstairs as well. Leaving very few options in each building, and each floor.

Now 15 minutes is robbed from class. Students have a reason to miss information because having to go to the bathroom simply can’t wait. For example, the nearest bathroom that is open is on a completely different floor. Principal Kristy Jernigan, had come to the conclusion that a change was needed.

Administrators sent an email on October 18, to parents about the issue.

Being a new principal this year, Jernigan is doing her best to make the right decisions for the school.  Students were not respecting what the school had provided for them, and the disrespect was getting old. “Closing bathrooms,” Jernigan said, “helps us monitor when we are having problems in the rest rooms.” In other words, closing bathrooms and limiting areas for students to go, helps depict who is causing these problems.

There is no secret that students are upset about this decision. Walking through the hallways, most of the conversations are about the bathrooms. Being closed, the long walks to go to the restroom, etc. All the complaints about the decision that happened over a month ago weren’t going anywhere.

Frosh. Monroe Neinhuis said, “It’s annoying how a few students ruin things for the whole school…one time in the bathroom a girl was smoking and I had to get searched because I was in there at the same time.” Neinhuis also said, “I am scared to go to the bathroom now because of what could happen.”

Along with the complaints, students have been talked to by their teacher after coming back from a restroom break, being asked about why they were gone for so long. What they were doing, where their cell phone was, who they were with. All these questions as if in an interrogation room, being pressured to answer when there was no reason to.

Soph. Reese Feltman said, “My teacher marked me absent in class because I had to walk around the school to find an open bathroom. He said I was ‘taking laps’ when I was really just trying to find the nearest, open bathroom.”

Students are being punished for actions that are caused by just a few of their peers. “Unfortunately, some students were making choices that caused us to have to close them,” Jernigan said, “restricting areas can help with that. We don’t like doing it and if everyone can be respectful of the bathrooms, then they can stay open at all times.” All the school wants is for the students to respect the facilities and to act like the mature adults they will soon become.

Stewart says, “I am leaving the high school in just a few months, and I am hoping that WO can figure everything out, and not have these problems.”