Opinion: Locked Out and Camping Out


“Because we can’t continuously keep a supervisor just standing there specifically for that restroom, the best thing to do is not have it open at all.” said Carlos Perez, a campus supervisor. Photo by: Olive Kranzler

Olive Kranzler

As the female restroom availability dwindles down, students are finding themselves waiting in huge lines!

Recently, students who use the women’s bathrooms at school have been noticing them locked unexpectedly. Some of the restrooms, like the ones in the 200s upstairs, have been locked since all current students have been attending VHS, so it is to be expected. The real head-scratcher though is the issue of the women’s restroom by the front entrance of the school having been locked, or the ones in the portables unavailable during break and lunch. 

“Part of the problems we have been having with that restroom [by the entrance] is students were saying they were going to that restroom and they were running out that front door. Because we can’t continuously keep a supervisor just standing there specifically for that restroom, the best thing to do is not have it open at all,” said Carlos Perez, a campus supervisor. “This way we know if students head that way [towards the entrance], one we can stop them and say ‘where are you headed’ and they say ‘the restroom’, it’s right here in the 100s and 90s and now there is no reason for them to go over there. If they continue to go over there then the only other reason they would want to do that is to pretend they are going to hang out and then they take off.” 

Perez’s explanation of why the entrance bathrooms have been locked makes sense logistically, but one can’t help but wonder if locking the restrooms is the only way to keep these incidents from happening. It seems unfair to punish all students because of the location of a major bathroom. 

After third and fifth period, if students want to use the restroom in the portables, they can’t. “Those [the portable’s restrooms] are going to be locked on break and lunch. Same reason, so in the portables area, if you are not aware, no students are allowed to be in that area during breaks and lunch. So if no students are allowed to be there, they shouldn’t be there, then they do not need a restroom there,” said Perez.

According to this information, and assuming that 1000 of the 2000 VHS students use female restrooms, VHS would need 27-28 individual toilets. Infographic by: Olive Kranzler

What about right after the period ends? It makes no sense to keep those restrooms unlocked during third and fifth period, only to lock them right after. This makes it so that students are encouraged to use the restroom during class time, which is not ideal. Locking the restrooms in the portables won’t keep kids from hanging out there, it will just force students to use them during their respective class period instead. 

Teachers aren’t supposed to let students use the restrooms for the first and last 10 minutes of the period. This leaves 35 minutes of available time for students to use the restroom. Only one student is allowed to leave the classroom at once. If it takes two minutes to go to the bathroom, only 17 kids would be able to use the restroom during the period. There is no possible way for all students to use the bathrooms following these rules. 

The consequences of making restroom availability limited is that students don’t use the restrooms. “I usually never go [to the bathrooms],” said junior Valerie Tadeo. Is VHS advocating not using the restrooms? Not going to the bathroom at all during their six to seven hours at school entails that students dont get enough water, which is essential for a student’s health. 

An article on cdc.gov stated, “Getting enough water every day is important for your health. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones.”

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, requirements for restrooms are six toilets for every 111-150 people, and an additional toilet for every forty after that per sex. Since VHS has around 2000 kids, estimating that about 1000 are female or use the female restrooms, VHS would need 27-28 individual toilets. Even when the portables are open, VHS only has twelve individual stalls, excluding the ones students don’t use because there isn’t a functioning locking mechanism. VHS is evidently not following these safety requirements. 

Restrooms have always been crowded, but it was bearable before. Now, students enter the restroom, only to leave immediately because of the daunting line. This prevents students from focusing in class and might account for an increase in students using the restroom during class instead of at break or lunch. Locking students out is making more problems than it is solving them.