Vandalism fuels a bathroom shutdown epidemic

Haeleigh Bayle, Editor

There’s a new epidemic in this school: people are causing bathrooms all throughout the school to get shutdown because they choose to vandalize them.  Bathrooms around the high school have been closed for various acts of vandalism.

The closing of the bathrooms has been going on for a long time, but specifically this year there have been numerous times when different bathrooms are closed off. For the innocence of the reader, no specific details will be given of some of the rather harrowing vandalism; however, if you let your imagination wander, I am sure some pretty disgusting scenarios could will come to mind. With the few individuals, or groups of individuals, vandalizing the bathrooms, they make it so the once-accessible bathrooms cannot be used by everybody else due to their lack of consideration. Ruining the use of such facilities is getting out of control, and many people can’t help but agree that something needs to be done to stop the bathroom shutdown epidemic.

Mr. Knapp, a janitor here at the school was able to answer questions in regards to the vandalism. Vandalism here at the school may “range anywhere from vaping to flushing fruit down the toilet,” according to Mr. Knapp. What students who do this do not realize is the amount of work it takes for the janitors to fix the mess they made. Mr. Knapp and Miss Rose already spend about half of the school day working in bathrooms because of students. When students decide to flush fruit down the toilet it involves taking the actual toilet off of the floor in order to fix it. This alone requires at least two people and several hours to fix. Even vapes that students flush down the toilet lead the janitors to have to remove the toilet from the floor. My question for students who flush fruit or vapes down the toilet is this: Would you want to be cleaning this up? Or spending hours in a stinky bathroom to unclog a lodged apple from the pipes of the toilet?

While talking with Mr. Knapp he also mentioned the reason why bathrooms stay closed for the length they are closed. They leave the bathroom closed for the reason of trying to figure out who caused the problems. In order to attempt to figure out who the student was, administration typically tries to have Mr. Knapp or Miss Rose narrow down a possible time that it could have occurred. From there, they go through the cameras and see who exactly went into the bathroom and try to figure it out from there. Many times, they can get a possible lead from a fellow student saying they saw or heard something going on. Mr. Knapp even said that getting information from students is very helpful and their names will never be revealed to the student at fault. As Mr.Knapp said, “If the boys want the bathroom open, come clean,” referring to the one in the high school hallway that has been closed for a while.

If a student is caught vandalizing the bathrooms, administration may step in. Mr. Cragg, the high school principal, and Officer Miller answered questions regarding dealing with students who are caught vandalizing. If a student’s name is leaked to the administration in regards to if they did something, or if the administration is able to pinpoint exactly who it was, the student can face serious punishments. Such punishments can be that they get arrested for institutional vandalism, which could result in a felony charge brought against them if the damage is $1,000. Another punishment the student(s) may receive is the possibility of one year in prison for criminal mischief, which is the defacing or destruction of public property. Both punishments are severe enough to have an impact on the student’s future because they would be added to their record.

Overall, this epidemic of the bathroom lock-downs have spiked rapidly, and many individuals voiced their displeasure on the lack of available bathrooms. This epidemic will not stop unless students talk with others to put an end to this, but this article has been published in hopes of raising awareness on this problematic situation that has arisen. If students know of fellow classmates who partake in such behavior, do not hesitate to reach out to administration, teachers, or one of our janitors.