Newsflash: It’s Not The Bathrooms

ACPS plan to reconstruct the bathrooms will not fix problems in AHS


Harry Yung

A look inside of the current downstairs boys MESA bathrooms.

Harry Yung, Staff Reporter

Say goodbye to the downstairs MESA bathrooms. According to a Jan. 23 Daily Progress article, ACPS plans to renovate them over the summer, turning them into a dozen single-occupancy bathrooms with added sensors to detect vaping. 

This idea is mindless and would be a complete waste of money.

The proposed renovation comes after parent complaints about student misconduct in the bathrooms.  “Newsflash: it’s happening in the bathrooms,” parent Christy Cambio said during a town hall meeting with School Board member Judy Le.

Superintendent Matthew Haas said he believed removing the so-called “gang bathrooms” will cut down on the number of reported incidents.

While there are valid concerns about bathroom activity, the direction they’re taking the renovations is completely wrong. The proposed solution will create even more problems. Haas is not in this school building and does not know what the bathroom situation is truly like. Students do.

One of the initial motivations for trying a new bathroom design is that students use going to the bathroom as a way to skip class and get away from staff. In this case, giving bathrooms to students that they can lock themselves in creates a much bigger problem. 

With the current design, school personnel can simply walk into a bathroom to address any issues or help manage skipping — with the new design, they can not. More single stalls will only make the problem worse. Not to mention the administration has already begun to chain some of our smaller bathrooms shut. If we’re closing small bathrooms, why create more of them?

The bigger problem, however, is overcrowding. During the six-minute break between classes, the hallways are already very crowded with long bathroom lines snaking out of the bathroom doors. Currently, there are at least 17 toilets available between the men’s and women’s restrooms. With the County’s plan, we would lose five toilets.

If we’re closing small bathrooms, why create more of them?

Adding single-occupancy bathrooms where students have to wait in line for each individual stall is just going to cause more chaos in the hallways and make kids tardy to class. For this plan to work, they would then need to lengthen the break in between classes to create time to use the bathroom, further shortening class time.

While some argue that more single-stall, gender-neutral bathrooms will promote inclusivity, it actually has the opposite effect.  Transgender students who primarily use the single occupancy bathrooms will have less access with everyone else using them.

The vaping alarms are the only reasonable part of this plan and should be implemented in bathrooms as they are.

Overall, this plan is a waste of money, time and labor and will create more problems without fixing any of the initial ones. The money to reconstruct the bathrooms will be taken from the $1.4 million County budget for renovations. Instead of spending their money on this, they could fix a much-needed overcrowding problem and expand AHS, or possibly even build a new school.