Green slips are a go: New bathroom policies in place at Ventura High


The new bathroom pass for Schatzi Sovich’s classroom. By placing a layer of tape over it and adding a lanyard, this paper passed can be reused for multiple students. Photo by: Ava Mohror

With the removal of wooden passes, the controversy surrounding the new bathroom policies by the administration persists

Teachers have been asked by the administration to handwrite single-use bathroom passes if a student needs to use the restroom. Students cannot use the restroom for the first and last ten minutes of the period, and two students cannot go at the same time. Bathrooms in the portables are now being locked during break and lunch, and other restrooms throughout the school are unavailable for student use throughout the school day. Students have been voicing their concerns about these new policies. 

Sophomore Kinda Mehael said, “I honestly don’t like it. They’re making us feel like we’re not trustworthy enough to go to the BATHROOM. As high schoolers, we should be able to go to the bathroom without a pass.” 

“We aren’t criminals, why are we being punished for the actions that belong to someone else?” said senior Damien Gonzalez Aguilera. 

However, according to Principal Marissa Cervantes, there is a different reasoning behind the new green passes. Cervantes said, “We changed to the green slips because of concerns from staff, students and parents about the need for more sanitary passes especially during these COVID times.”

Sophomore Kinda Mehael said, “It honestly feels like we’re going to a prison not a school.” Graphic by: Alejandro Hernandez

Some students aren’t strictly against this change in policy. “I think the new bathroom passes are fine, it’s a little more of a problem with teachers since they have to write it. In theory, it would stop kids from just going wherever which I am for and allows the teacher to know where the student is in case of an emergency. I am not for them or against them, but I believe they are better than the old passes,” said sophomore Laird Pidduck.

Through this controversy, the majority of VHS students agree with Mehael, and are not in favor of the new passes. As shown through an Instagram poll taken through on Nov. 20, of 160 students, 153 students (96 percent) are not in favor, while only seven students (four percent) are. These results show that most VHS students, at least those polled, are against the new passes. 

According to a poll of 50 VHS staff members via Google Forms, 46 percent said they preferred using green bathroom slips over wooden passes, while 46 percent said they didn’t. Eight percent had no opinion. English teacher Erik Votruba said, “I think the handwritten pass policy is a step in the right direction, but still likely a work in progress.”

The new passes aren’t the only change in bathroom policy at VHS.

In a Google Form poll of 50 VHS staff members, the majority agreed that the change in bathroom pass policy was necessary. Graphic by: Alejandro Hernandez

For a couple of months now, the portable’s bathrooms have been locked during break and lunch, along with other bathrooms unavailable throughout the school day. An anonymous staff member said, “We should not be locking bathrooms; the administration should develop a better system for monitoring these areas to ensure both access and safety.” 

Cervantes said, “The restroom near ASB is not permanently closed but does require closing often for repairs and/or cleaning due to vandalism and other student caused damage.”

According to ed code, restrooms must remain open when students are not in class. However, it also states that restrooms may be temporarily closed for the safety of students. As stated in The Cougar Press’s latest bathroom article, the reason why the portable bathrooms are closed is that “No students are allowed to be in that area [the portables] during breaks and lunch,” according to campus supervisor Carlos Perez. Even if this decision was made with the student’s best interest in mind, the closing of the bathrooms has thus far not been temporary. 



Paul Togneri’s class shares their opinions on the new green pass policy. The majority of the students expressed negative opinions on the new bathroom pass policy. Photo by: Ava Mohror

Ed code also states that there needs to be one toilet for every 40 students. There are roughly 2,000 students enrolled at VHS. Assuming that half of the students use the boy’s restroom, and given that the restroom is open during break and lunch often has only one toilet available, that would mean that there would be only one toilet for 1,000 students when there needs to be at least 25. 

During nutrition and lunch, there are seven girl’s stalls open between the 90s wing restroom and the 50/60s wing restroom. If 1,000 students use the girls’ restrooms, that is roughly one toilet for every 142 students, well over the one toilet per 40 students rule. 

Students and staff have varying opinions on the new green pass policy and the changes regarding bathroom availability. These topics have been the talk of the school, and are yet to be determined helpful or not for student safety. The issue may be discussed at the Student Forum on Dec. 9.