Bathrooms at OHS on lockdown

Doug Curtright guards the bathrooms at first lunch.

Aerda Roddan

Doug Curtright guards the bathrooms at first lunch.

As of Monday, January 23rd, the commons bathrooms at OHS have been locked. There have been mixed opinions about this across the school, and three students have contacted Principal Matthew Grant about their worries. Grant and these students had a meeting this Thursday, January 26th, about how to go about solving these issues.

Due to severe vandalism and drug use in bathrooms, the solution was to only open up bathrooms in the commons during lunch. There is now a limit of three students in the bathroom at a time, and students must leave their backpacks outside. This is all monitored by an adult.

Vandalism has been a prevalent and long standing issue at OHS, and the administration has created a solution to hopefully decrease these issues. Custodians are overworked and constantly have to clean up bathrooms. Grant worries that custodians will consider leaving OHS, “They’re spending a lot of time painting over profanity or even worse stuff like racial or sexual stuff.” Grant adds, “I think it’s a bigger issue than what people might have [let] on.”

Senior Meg Spidle brought up the issue of students not having a convenient time to use the bathroom anymore. “When people can’t use the commons bathrooms during passing period, then everyone has to cram into the other bathrooms,” states Spidle. With nearly 2,000 students and thirty minutes of lunch, there’s not many opportunities to be able to find time to go. Amelie Zerbe, junior, also acknowledged that the bathrooms being filled during passing period forces people to have to go during class. “I’ve noticed some more people getting up during class to go to the bathroom which, you know, is not the best use of class time,” Zerbe added. 

Students having to leave their backpacks outside on a table before entering the restroom also creates some fear for people who use feminine products. “There’s people with anxiety and stuff that would be very mortified at the idea of taking out period products in front of the entire lunchroom,” states junior Amelie Kuo. Not being able to bring backpacks into the stall makes it hard to discreetly bring products in with you, making people uncomfortable or even outing them. “I feel like it would be hard for, say, men with uteruses or trans students who use the men’s bathroom,” Kuo adds. This could potentially make it to where students have to go long amounts of time without being able to change their period products. 

According to Grant, locking the bathrooms was also intended to help stop drug use at OHS. Grant stated that it is probably more convenient for people to use drugs in the bathroom than to have to go outside, so regulating the bathrooms will cut down some of the drug use. Spidle contradicted this by saying “The commons bathroom during lunch generally is so incredibly crowded that you couldn’t do anything without everyone else knowing.” Zerbe also added to this, “I feel like any efforts to deal with drug use needs to kind of come from drug use in general and figure out ways to cut that down in the student body rather than just targeting the bathrooms specifically.”

Locked bathrooms are likely to be temporary, and Grant is considering the issues of students and working on finding what will work the best. “It doesn’t mean we have to stick to something permanently if it doesn’t work,” states Grant. Overall, the administration is working on finding the best option and will take the constructive criticism shared by students into consideration.