Open bathrooms are a necessity for student respect

The Flash Editorial Board

Having a large sign wrapped around you in order to use the bathroom isn’t what any of us had in mind when entering the new quarter, but here we are. We had the opportunity to talk to Principal Nicole Lee about the new bathroom policy and why it was initially put in place.

“We’re finding children are going out in the hallway for an extended length of time to the bathroom,” Lee said. “There were a lot of things going on in places that were not appropriate. We’re hoping [the new bathroom policy] will allow teachers to monitor which students they’re letting out and how long they are going out for.”

While some staff members are hoping that this new policy will diminish the problem at hand, this policy might cause more harm than good, due to the increasing number of students in the school. This year’s ninth grade class is the largest in FLC history. This makes the restroom more crowded.

With only the first and second-floor bathrooms open, if someone on the third or fourth floor needs to use the bathroom, they have to go downstairs and hope there is no line.

“You now have a hall pass to go to the bathroom, or to the nurse or wherever you need to go. It’s only going to be one per classroom. That’s going to hold students accountable for being where they need to be,” Lee said.

These types of changes are not just going to affect students; some teachers feel as though this is just another weight on their shoulders. Kayti Arthur, a science teacher at FLC, has concerns about the new policy

“I feel hopeful that the hallways will become less crowded,” Arthur said, “but I also feel like that bathroom policy is a lot on teachers to remember who’s out and it’s just all on us again.”

The bathroom is one of the least sanitary places anyone can be in at school, so having dozens of kids carrying one bathroom pass in and out of the bathroom over and over all day long doesn’t scream cleanliness or COVID safety.

Instead of making the whole school suffer for the mistakes and actions of a few, it would be best to have discipline for only those who break the rules, and it would be even better if the discipline was consistent. In a year that has had more than ten bell schedules, a library and a nurse’s office that are only open sporadically, and daily teacher absences, this lack of consistency throughout the school year is not only confusing but unbearable. This leaves students with less trust in the school at a time when they need support more than ever.

Taylor Presbery-Fields, a Junior at FLC, is irritated with the locked bathrooms.

“Going to the bathroom is a basic right, so you shouldn’t lock the bathrooms,” she said.

With these regulations being in place, student rights at FLC are being limited. Bathroom access is a right, not a privilege. It doesn’t matter if a student has broken rules in the past–they deserve access to a functional bathroom whenever they need one. FLC should unlock its bathrooms and address misbehavior as exactly what it is: the exception not the rule.