The Student News Site of Stafford High School

SHS Publications

The Student News Site of Stafford High School

SHS Publications

The Student News Site of Stafford High School

SHS Publications

Stafford High School Bathroom Policy Woes: Just Deal With It

The bathroom policy at Stafford High School is going to change in every way, except the way we want. Students are advised to “just wait,” to use the bathroom.
Maggie Kennedy
A chart depicting Stafford High School’s bathroom policy.

We are unintentionally being trained to hold our bladder, which is not only troublesome but also unhealthy. Using the bathroom is a natural and universal experience. Although we can “hold it,” it feels like our human rights are being violated by the restriction of the bathroom policy. It is ridiculous that we as students are prevented from conducting personal bodily functions. Britain was revolted against for taking away the colonists’ rights, but at least they still allowed the colonists to freely use the bathroom.

The bathroom policy at Stafford High School causes confusion and inconvenience, so administration might need to consider flushing this one down the toilet.

According to Stafford High School security guard Donald Embrey, the old bathroom policy of unlocking certain bathrooms at certain times has been updated. “They’ve kind of changed that one a little bit. They’re pretty much all open, but they are still in that 10 minute window before and after.” The thing is, that “10 minute window” turns into a 25 minute window when you can’t even get into a restroom in between classes.

He further explains, “The first ten minutes of class and the last ten minutes of class are supposed to have the bathrooms locked. And that basically follows through the whole day too.” Unfortunately, this includes some of the most available blocks of time. This seems counterintuitive because kids will end up missing more instruction time if they are forced to go in the middle of class, which is what the administration claims they’re trying to avoid.

Embrey continues, “The morning and then during both lunches the policy applies. The first 10 minutes of lunch and then the last ten minutes, and then all four blocks.” 2 hours and 20 minutes have already been taken away from open bathroom time, but there’s still one more catch.

Another Stafford High School Security Guard, Richard Smith, expands on which floors are opened. “A lunch third floor is open because the classes are in their lunch and learn part, and then B Lunch the second floor is open because the A Wing of second floor is back into lunch and learn.” The bathroom schedule can also be found taped to each bathroom door in small print. 

The policy is even carried out past the school day. Smith adds, “At the end of the day we try to lock the bathrooms up 10 minutes after.” There must be a reason for such an inconvenient policy, right?

When it comes to right after school Smith explains, “Students hang out in the bathroom and they’re dawdling or taking their time to get to the bus, and the buses are waiting for them when they need to just get out of the building.” However, this is only part of the reason why the bathrooms are locked.

Embrey says, “It’s mainly to cut-down on people skipping.” Smith confirms, “There’s too many kids skipping class and the vandalism—the bathroom policy has helped keep that at bay.” 

Jahrome Fletcher, a senior at Stafford High School who dislikes the bathroom policy, complains, “The policy is annoying because it’s not the ideal time to go to the bathroom in the middle of class compared to the beginning or end of class.” The policy goes beyond inconvenience and has even caused some distress.

Stafford High School senior Skyler Shaffer recounts an upsetting experience she had with the bathroom policy. “One time I had my period and I was taken by surprise by it, but I wasn’t able to handle it in a timely manner because I had to wait and walk around, and look for a bathroom,” she shares.

After finding an assistant principal, she was instructed to go to Stafford High School Nurse Cathy Ray. Shaffer remarks on Ray’s reaction, “She kind of got mad at me for going there to go to the bathroom because I guess it’s not meant for students, I think it might just be meant for sick people.” A clinic is meant for emergencies, but isn’t needing to use the bathroom when every single restroom is locked an emergency?

Ray clears up the confusion. She says, “If someone comes in, we just let them know that it’s best that they use the bathroom outside and not here in the clinic. I just follow protocol.” The clinic’s restroom is meant for those who have certain conditions and need to have it reserved. So, unless it is absolutely necessary, the nurse’s office bathroom is not an option.

A different course of action is recommended by the administration in the case of an urgent situation. “If you do have an emergency, you need to start with your assistant principal, or their admin assistant to say it’s an emergency,” Stafford High School Principal Chelsea Tryon advises. “Your admin can unlock the bathroom or write you a pass to go to the nurse, or we can just kind of problem-solve together,” she adds. Tryon understands there will be emergencies at times, but she also believes the bathroom issue is deeper than what meets the eye. 

Tryon exclaims, “Life is full of inconveniences. One day, these same kids are going to have jobs where they might have to wait to use the restroom.

 “Life is full of adversity, and we have to build up our resiliency. Life is full of times where you might have to wait on something, and that’s okay. We have created a society where we get everything we want in a moment,” Tryon continued.

This perspective is eye-opening, yes, but it doesn’t help the fact that the bathroom policy still leaves something to be desired. Smith comments, “There’s no system that’s perfect. I’m sure there’s incidences all the time where you can say, ‘well what about this, what about that?’ and I totally agree. There is no system ever for anything that’s perfect. And unfortunately a few are kind of ruining it for them all.”

Making a statement on the current condition of the bathrooms, Tryon says, “There’s kids vaping in there. There’s kids doing drugs in there. Until we get that under control, then that student who’s worried about missing the chunk of time at the heart of the class, they’re just going to miss it.”

Promisingly, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, more or less. Tryon shares, “My hope is that we start taking pride in our school, we turn some things around, and then we don’t have to have such strict structures in place.” This is a nice idea, but the reality is that is probably not going to happen. Those who don’t follow the rules likely don’t care about them in the first place, and when new rules are made to correct it, those same kids break the new rules too.

So, unfortunately, “taking pride in our school” is easier said than done. Tryon says, “It encompasses going to the bathroom and using the restroom and leaving because the other 2,300 kids in this building want to use it. Just like you get your tray in the cafeteria and you throw your garbage away because there are 2,300 other kids that want to sit at a table that’s clean.”

Realistically, these rules are not going to change unless we do better like how Mrs.Tryon described. However, everyone knows that’s not going to happen. It’s good to be optimistic about things like this and stay encouraging, but let’s face it–this is high school and kids are kids. The best way to deal with this issue is ultimately going to be sucking it up and getting everybody on the same page. Teachers should know the bathroom policy for emergencies, and if changes are made to the schedule like recently, those should be made well-known. New policies shouldn’t be spread through word-of-mouth and tiny printed schedules, updates need to be announced and posted in multiple, easily accessible locations. 

Emergency Protocol:

  • Find AP to unlock the bathroom
  • If needed, ask fishbowl/main office/teacher to locate AP to unlock the bathroom
  • Absolute emergency: nurse (need pass/AP permission)

Assistant Principals

Ms. Chawrdi Elliott
Mrs. Heather Carafiol
Mr. James Ralph
Ms. Brittany Bauccio
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