Ten minutes to go. Eyes shift to the clock. Two minutes to go. A feeling of restlessness and anticipation sweeps over everyone. Feet poised, arms tense, girls line up at the edge with only 30 seconds to go.
The bell rings, and we’re already in motion. Ten girls from my class take off, creating a stampeding herd as they race away- not to a finish line or to food service, but through the halls to the bathroom.
Due to the recent closure of the downstairs bathroom in the 30s building, extremely long lines have become a very common theme in the upstairs girls’ bathroom. This leaves only three stalls in the 30s building, not including the gender neutral bathroom. I understand that the boys’ bathroom downstairs was closed because there was not enough supervision to monitor the use of drugs. However, this is not an issue in the girls bathrooms.
I am aware that the downstairs restroom does not receive very much supervision, but so far, the girls have not proven that they are doing anything wrong. Yes- we do go to the bathroom in groups, but the only thing we do is chat, redo our hair, and fix our makeup. And, of course, use the bathroom.
The girls should not have to suffer through the long wait for the restroom or feel the need to go during their next period and miss valuable class time. Instead of keeping both bathrooms closed, the administration should reopen the downstairs girls’ restroom, so that everyone can use the bathroom before they go back to class.
Passing periods are not the only time when this is an issue; the lines during brunch are also chaos. There is no room in the restroom itself, and the wait is out the door. Brunch is the time when students can use the extra five minutes for themselves, but recently, this has not been an option. While a crowded bathroom on occasion is acceptable, this has now become the norm, and it is creating an inconvenience for a large number of girls.
There are currently 19 available toilets for females at this school, including the gender neutral bathrooms. The California Department of Education’s 2013 CA Plumbing Code states that for every 30 females at the school, there must be at least one toilet provided. Even with the recent bathroom closure, PHS is currently compliant with the CA Plumbing Code. However, the wait for the bathrooms must be remedied; the lines are still unbearable.
The lines are not the only issue, however. Often times, the girls run out of feminine products, paper towels, soap, and toilet paper. Granted, the administration has provided means to reach out and fix these problems- meaning that it is the students’ responsibility to update the administration when the supplies in the restrooms are running low. However, only the administration has the ability to reopen the downstairs bathroom.
I do not want to wait in a ten minute line every time I need to use the restroom. I want to be able to use the bathroom without worrying about whether or not I have enough time, when there are still nine minutes left in the passing period. I do not want to have to sprint to the bathroom and then sprint to my next class right after that. I know there are many others who feel the same way.
Give us back our bathroom.