Novato High Restrooms in Need of Big Changes
By Gabby Caldera
There are some issues with restrooms at Novato High that need to be addressed. Administration should stop telling students when they can and cannot go to the restroom. In addition, the cleanliness of the restrooms needs to be improved.
Using the restroom is something every single human has to do. It is simply one of the most basic human needs like sleeping, eating, and breathing. Yet at Novato High, being denied the right to use the restroom is a pretty common occurring problem.
Adult staff members seem to be guaranteed the right of using the restroom when they need to, so why are students being denied that right almost daily?
Most teachers would easily say they want a smooth class period, with very few disruptions of students using the restroom or asking to simply get a drink of water.
Being told to “hold it” or “wait until break or lunch” is not fair to someone who genuinely needs to use the restroom. That puts people at risk of health problems and it trains the brain to neglect the signals of having to use the restroom.
Students are not the only ones who seem to have issues with the bathrooms here at Novato. Teachers also have developed opinions about the bathrooms and the policy throughout the school campus.
MSA director and film teacher Peter Ornstein expressed his views on the restroom rules.
“I don't think the bathroom policy needs to be changed, I think it just needs to include flexibility on the part of the teacher,” Ornstein said. “I think it's good they're trying to eliminate kids just wandering about because let's face it, there are a large number of students that wander off and wander back and meet their friends. The teacher has to be flexible if they have an emergency or they can't wait. You have to allow for those kinds of things. It's not done in a vacuum.”
Ornstein also discussed the policy of using passes.
“I think the bathroom passes help to the extent the patrol can see they have a bathroom pass and the tip off for them is someone who doesn't have a bathroom pass so they don't have an excuse...I have them leave their phones when they take the pass,” Ornstein said.
Also, it is not a shock to many that the NHS bathrooms aren’t the cleanest places on campus. As soon as students walk into the bathrooms, they are usually greeted with large lines of students, massive amounts of dirt or water on the floor, and used paper towels bunched up in the corners.
Frequently, when students go to wash their hands after using the restroom, there is not even soap to use, or no paper towels to dry hands.
In the California Education Code (Section 35292.5), it clearly states that every restroom shall at all times be maintained and cleaned regularly, fully-operational and stocked at all times with toilet paper, soap, and paper towels or functional hand dryers.
Novato High senior Jake Maddox feels strongly about this topic.
“I just hate the fact that the boys at this school have no respect for the school,” said Maddox. “They show how little they care by flooding the bathrooms and writing awful things on the stalls. Honestly we need to make all of them gender neutral because they provide privacy and stay cleaner.”
But the finger of blame should not be pointed directly at the maintenance workers here at school. Young adults tend to do their business without the common courtesy of flushing, throwing paper towels away, or cleaning up after themselves. From the empty soap dispensers to not enough toilet paper to graffiti on the walls or broken faucets, there is plenty of room for improvement.