If you are a female, you understand the annoyance of going to the bathroom – the long lines, the smell, and the filthy toilets. But at some point during the day, duty calls and you’re forced to brave the horror, dreading every second of it.
The hygiene of our restrooms is deplorable and something has to be done about it. Students leave used toilet paper, towels, used feminine products, and pools of water by the sinks and on the floor. When visitors use our restrooms, the appearance leaves a poor impression. Furthermore, there are many stalls that are damaged with graffiti on the walls, on stall doors, and students should be held accountable for this destruction of school property.
Eduardo Garcia, a custodian says, “The truth is that the women’s restrooms are dirtier than the men’s.” He goes on to say, “Cleaning after students’ restrooms is not difficult since it’s my job, but I think that students are not taught at home how to keep the school in a sanitary condition.”
Yaqueline Cruz, a junior, agreed, “Girls should be held accountable by being responsible young ladies and cleaning up after themselves.” Lucia Paredes, also a junior, says, “If someone sees another girl leaving a mess behind in the restrooms, they can tell a janitor and that person can help clean up trash during lunch or after school.”
Another issue is the considerable length of lines causes other problems apart from those in facilities. Many girls have to wait in line to use the restroom. To avoid the lines, some students go during class causing a disruption in their education, while others will wait their turn even after the bell rings, resulting in an increase of tardiness. On campus there are 10 restrooms with an average of 3 to 5 stalls. Our student population exceeds 2,800 and half are females, which compounds the problem.
Of the ten restrooms, not all of them are available during school hours. The restrooms by the Mullin’s Theater for either gender aren’t even open during school hours. Janitor Carlos Torres says, “Those restrooms are locked because they are for teachers. They are open to students only when the theater is used for performances.” From personal experience, some restrooms have been locked when I have had emergencies, but the boys restrooms right next door were open.
There are hardly any mirrors in the bathrooms because of recent threats posed around school. Recently, the mirrors in the 500’s hallway restroom by the Career Center and the baile folklorico classroom have been taken down. Although mirrors aren’t an absolute necessity and aren’t as important as clean, well-stocked restrooms they are still a helpful utility. Furthermore, the sign for the girls restroom has been taken down. If a new person comes onto campus and is looking for a nearby restroom they might not be able to find it. Also, if there is a person who is visually impaired, they won’t be able to locate the correct restroom because the braille is absent.
Compounding all these miseries, girls will get their period unexpectedly and have to go through the hassle of asking every girl for a pad or a tampon. In order to fix this problem, restrooms should be upgraded for girls to have vending machines with these products for free or at a reduced cost in case of emergencies, rather than having to go to the Nurse. The restrooms in the 1000’s and 700’s buildings have a tampon and pad vending machine, but they have been empty since I have been a freshman and probably for many years before that. Mr. Garcia, the principal, states, “No one has brought this up to my attention since most girls will go to the Nurse if they need help. I will see what I can do by talking to other schools on the subject. We might not install one in every restroom in case they should be removed one day, but certainly one in each building.”
The restroom condition at Alisal has a lot of improvement to be made for students as well as staff. Some problems are easy to fix – providing free feminine products in girls’ restrooms, making sure all the restrooms are open during school hours, and keeping the restrooms clean by picking up after ourselves and respecting the facilities by not vandalizing them. If our school works together, the quality of our restrooms will improve for us and for future students.