A sneak peek into the horror that is the boys’ bathrooms

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Nature Calls! No matter how hard we might try to avoid it, everyone has to go. Unfortunately, relieving yourself in a personal bathroom is not always an option—sometimes you have no choice but to use the dreaded public bathroom. Public bathrooms are notorious for their grimy toilets and murky sinks. These unkempt facilities often provide users with a lousy bathroom experience. Luckily, most adults have the freedom to choose to use a different, much nicer bathroom at a different location if they so please. However, the students at Wylie E. Groves High School do not have this luxury. They are forced to do their business in the dingy bathrooms the school provides. 

The poor condition of the bathrooms is partly due to the student body. Often students vandalize, soil or pollute the bathrooms provided for them. The boys’ bathrooms are a regular victim of bathroom abuse.  Not all of the blame should be put on the students though: the custodial staff often fail to keep the bathrooms clean. The Groves community needs to address their bathroom issues and make more of an effort to clean them up. 

Groves bathrooms are not very popular among the students. Many are displeased with the limited space provided, and the constant state of filth the bathrooms are in.  In fact, Spencer Goldberg, a junior at Groves, believes he speaks for everyone at Groves about the bathrooms.

“The bathrooms are in such a bad condition that I often try to avoid using the bathroom during school,” Goldberg said.

 Bathrooms should be a place where people feel comfortable, especially in a school. Students deserve a clean bathroom, but the constant bathroom malfunctions and the unsanitary equipment in the bathroom cause for some disgusting bathrooms. Nearly everyday, a sink isn’t working, a toilet is overflowing or the floor is damp.

 

This is an example of an abused stall in the Groves Boys bathroom near the commons December 13 2022. This bathroom is often used by students in art and health classes. (Gabe Faber)

 

The custodial staff are not solely responsible. Students frequently trash the bathrooms, to the point where the custodial staff is not able to keep up with the cleaning. Many students often complain that the bathrooms are disgusting or that they are locked (often due to substance use), but those problems are largely their own fault. The Groves student body needs to band together and collectively respect their bathrooms. That means cleaning up after yourself and not using forbidden substances. Some students are great at respecting the bathrooms, however, they still have to deal with filthy bathrooms because of the few who choose to abuse it. Daniel Rosenfield, another junior at Groves, believes this is unfair. 

“I don’t like that when a few kids decide to mess up the bathrooms, everyone has to deal with it,” said Rosenfield.

 Daniel, and many other students, do nothing wrong, yet are punished with almost unusable bathrooms due to a few of their immature peers. Furthermore, the Groves staff tries to help with the bathroom abuse by locking up select bathrooms. Not only is this a huge inconvenience to the honest students who choose to respect the bathrooms, but it also causes the bathroom abuses to all go to the few remaining open bathrooms— thus forcing the honest students who need to use the restroom into being exposed to vapes and other nicotine devices that are frequently used in high school bathrooms. Thus, the Groves staff’s attempt to resolve the bathroom conflict actually causes it to spiral into a frenzy of abhorrent bathroom experiences. 

Taken on December 13, 2022, a trash can in the boys bathroom near the science wing overflows with toilet paper due to the lack of care students provide in the bathrooms on a daily basis.
(Gabe Faber)

Pinning all the blame on the students may be easy, but it wouldn’t be completely true. The equipment in the bathrooms do not function well, and the bathrooms often lack supplies. Neither of these problems are the students’ fault— in fact, this could be blamed on the school itself. Groves has a pattern of neglecting their bathrooms, often multiple sinks don’t work at a time and the bathrooms frequently lack soap, toilet paper, or paper towels. The hygienic problems don’t just end there, as the water at Groves during the 2021-2022 school year was infested with legionella. Students were advised to wear a mask while in the bathroom not due to COVID-19, but due to the harmful bacteria in the water! 

Just like everyone else in the world, the students at Groves deserve clean bathrooms. To accomplish this, Groves may need to hire more custodial staff, create incentives for students to keep their bathrooms clean, or purchase more sustainable equipment. Groves needs to come together as a community and fix this pressing issue, because no matter how hard you try to avoid it, nature calls.