Girls Bathroom Dilemma


Jacqueline Lemus-Govea, Editor-in-Chief

High school bathrooms tend to attract students who want to check themselves out before heading to their next class; or perhaps they want to skip a class or two. Whatever the reason may be, this isn’t new at CHS. In fact, bathroom-hangouts have seemingly increased this school year. There isn’t a clear culprit, but security member Tarren Sewell shares her perspective on why there have been so many girls’ bathroom backups. 

Sewell said that she has been surprised at the behavior being presented in the bathrooms. It has gotten to the point where bathrooms have seemingly become the hosts of lunch parties and class reunions. But there also is a deeper reasoning behind these bathroom behaviors.

“People don’t want to go to class, they do not feel welcome in their classes, they do not feel like their teachers like them or support them. They’re maybe avoiding some conflict, something they may have had with a teacher or a peer in that classroom, so it’s a lot of avoiding behavior, is what I see it as,” said Sewell. This brings up the questions like: what are students trying to get out of? What’s hard for students? What kind of hole have students dug themselves into that they can’t get out of? Though school bathrooms have often been used as make-shift raves, it has increased exponentially throughout the school year. So much so, that bathrooms were locked and extra supervision was implemented. All of these measures were put in place to, hopefully, put a stop to the chaotic atmosphere in the girls bathrooms. But are they really making a difference? 

It’s hard to tell what is working, but the shortage in security staff is also another reason why bathrooms have often been ordered to be shut down for the day. Sewell adds that it has become difficult being the only woman staff member in the security department, since she has to handle a lot of the bathroom issues that arise throughout her day-to-day schedule. 

Sewell, “I would really just like to see more support.” In finding a way for their staff members to do quick check-ins of the bathrooms, it will help lessen Sewel’s load and make it so that she can focus on other more pressing problems that may happen around the school. Though she understands that there are challenges in getting already busy staff members to take time out of their days to regularly monitor the bathrooms, it’ll definitely have an impact of signaling to class-skippers that they should get to class. 

In regard to solutions for this problem Sewell mentions that the security team is looking for new ways to improve the bathroom situation (that doesn’t include locking their doors) as the new trimester approaches. “I think we’re surviving right now. Also, it is a new semester so we’re really looking at things and how to do better for the term and I think that that is definitely something that we are looking at.” said Sewell. 

If anyone ever finds themselves in a bathroom crowded with non-bathroom-users, the most important thing is to remain respectful of everyone (even if they’re making the transition from Point A to Point B more difficult than it needs to be). Sewell acknowledges that it can be tricky to create a calm environment when there are two, very opinionated, groups of people trying to do their own thing. Swell noted that it is especially important to be nice, but if you have the opportunity and insight, to choose a different bathroom and figure out what times are less busy for you to use the restroom. 

“I think it’s all about respecting each other and I’m not quite sure if we’re all there yet. Trying to figure that out and not just assuming things and whatnot. Also, peer influence really does help [move students to the right direction],” said Sewell. After having mentioned that, Sewell added that, if students feel comfortable, it can be good to bring the disturbances to the attention of the people causing them. Sure, a lot of students may not feel ready to vocally express their concerns, but it’s something we can all work towards. 

Another aspect that can help alleviate the tension between students is finding a peer, teacher, or staff member that they trust to help get messages through to them. Sewell has put this into action when she finds it difficult to communicate with a student. Once she sees that there is difficulty, she tries to maneuver and look in different places for someone that can help those students understand what she’s trying to say. Doing this makes it easier for students, since they’re hearing it from a person they have a strong bond with. 

From blasting music and singing at the top of their lungs, to flooding a toilet in a neighboring stall, these students have made it their duty to cause as many shocking events to occur as often as they can. These events have left those who need to use the bathroom (and get to their classes quickly) at a disadvantage. But by creating a welcoming, understanding environment for all students, we can slowly put a stop to the unnecessary amount of student-filled bathrooms. 

All in all, Sewell sees this as a problem that arises from several root causes. Even then, students may also feel a lot of stress in trying to work their schedules around the disruptive decisions others make. Sewell said that bringing those concerns to a trusted faculty member is very important. 

“We’re here to help get you guys the things that you want but we need to hear your voices and I would like every single student to feel comfortable coming up to whoever,” said Sewell. “Because it’s really hard if you don’t have that and that’s when you can continue to get yourself in a bigger holes.” At the end of the day, it’s about making sure students have an adult at CHS that they feel cares about them and are able to get guidance from those trusted adults.