Bathrooms at LHS are a disgrace


Ariana Adrien, Staff Writer

At Ludlow High School, school bathrooms are the bane of students’ existence. 

The waiting, the lines, and the smell of weed make using the bathroom horrible. Students who need to go to the bathroom should not have to wait in line just to relieve themselves. It’s ridiculous.

The bathroom situation isn’t just ridiculous: it’s illegal. The Department of Education regulation 603 CMR 18.00 states: “to the requirements outlined in 603 CMR 18.00(4)(a), a day schools shall provide and maintain one toilet and sink for every 14 students in one or more well-ventilated bathrooms or state why a lower ratio meets the needs of the school.” We have 843 students. We have 7 stalls. To meet state regulations, Ludlow High School must have 60 stalls open. We have 7. Not 60. It’s a disgrace.

According to Mr. Mitchell, “we have the one main bathroom open for a few different reasons there have been instances of vandalism, illegal/unacceptable behavior in the bathrooms, and even bullying/harassment situations when all of the bathrooms are open. A number of years ago we tried opening the upstairs bathroom, but almost daily we were closing it because of vandalism. It was costing the school a lot of money to constantly replace stall doors, unclog toilets, replace urinals, etc.”

However, having one bathroom open on the account of behavioral problems is not meeting the needs of the school. A school’s most important need is to teach students, and taking students out of class to wait for the bathroom is directly contrasting those needs.

Furthermore, this regulation is in place to combat the serious health risks related to not using the restroom. When a student has to wait for long periods of time, or, worse, decides not to use the restroom in fear of missing material, they could get seriously injured, enough to have long-term life-threatening issues. According to WebMD, constipation — which can cause rectal prolapse and/or hemorrhoids —  can result from the current bathroom situation. 

Moreover, there are certain times when students aren’t allowed to even use the bathroom. During 5th period, students are unable to use any restroom outside of the singular bathroom in the nurse’s office, unless they’re at lunch. Some may assume that isn’t an issue, however, for students getting hot lunch, there is only 10 minutes to eat after waiting in line for food. Splitting that time with waiting to use the restroom? There’s no time at all. 

Having one bathroom open is also inconvenient. With the introduction of E-Hall passes, students at LHS only have 10 minutes to use the bathroom and return to class before being “flagged.” 

This may seem like enough time, however, if a student has a class in the basement or the top floor, they have to travel across the school to go to the bathroom. This adds an extra three to four minutes of travel time from any class. 

With the sole bathroom constantly changing, students may need to check two to three different locations before waiting in line, adding even more time to the wait — up to another minute per checked bathroom, bringing the time up to five minutes. 

The largest bathroom at Ludlow High School only has six stalls in the girls’ room and one in the boys (while bathrooms in the history hallway, the only ones open in November only have three). With a line, assuming every student can use the bathroom within two minutes, a “quick” line of students, adds another four minutes to the situation, bringing the time up to nine minutes.

 Add in the awkward fumble of the phone to try and end passes, and you’re already at the 10-minute mark, and that’s without a long line at the school’s best bathroom.  The overall bathroom transaction takes too long, making the ten minutes mark unreasonable for many students. If a typical trip to the bathroom takes more than ten minutes, it’s an issue by the school, not students. 

The time issue is greater than just being “flagged” and having to talk with administrators about your location, it’s taking time away from learning. Students can not learn without being in class, and students should never have to decide between using the bathroom or learning — it’s wrong.

It’s worse for those who are menstruating. Imagine unexpectedly getting your period in class and having to walk down two flights of stairs just to see if you ruined your pants and embarrassed yourself in front of many people. THAT’S AWFUL. Opening more bathrooms on different floors would rid students of that problem. 

It’s also unfair to the kids who don’t smoke. We are punished because other kids feel the need to put flavored air into their lungs. We all know which stall they go into, we all know who does it, so why are we still punished? 

The problems are with a select group of people. If the school has a problem with them, they should punish specific students and not everyone else. It’s the same students. Everyone knows who they are and what they do. I’m sure if the students know, then so do the teachers. Make the bad kids pay and the others go free. 

In an email from Mr.Mitchell, he wrote, “ Very often we have students complain to Admin about the bathroom situation. I look at it a little differently: If students would focus on policing themselves and telling their friends to get out of the bathroom and stop messing around, there would be less traffic and complaints!  Just my two cents!” 

He has a fair point, but students have no control over others. As the school likes to point out very well, WE are in THEIR school, so we must follow THEIR rules, otherwise, THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCESIt’s not our job to patrol our fellow peers. I can’t stop a smoker and go, “hey your irresponsible and annoying actions are preventing me from going to the bathroom.” They’ll laugh in my face because what power do I have over them? I have nothing. They aren’t going to listen to me. 

Moreover, students don’t give up their names for fear of retaliation. The people who smoke all smoke together, a smoker is not going to tell their fellow smokers to stop smoking if they do it too. It’s just common sense.

The bane of high school students should be essays and algebra, not trying to find time to use the bathrooms. Ludlow needs to get their restrooms up to code before it permanently affects our students.,the%20needs%20of%20the%20school.