By Kirstin Nichols
As Arundel adjusts to the new bathroom use policy, made effective on Tuesday, February 4th, student opinions on the matter vary while school staff is supportive of this new system.
“I think it’s really affecting in a positive way the safe and orderly perspective to be able to use the bathroom,” says Arundel advocate Mr. Quattlebaum. “It’s holding everyone accountable to ensure… you’re actually using the bathroom from a safe orderly perspective. The fact that kids are mindful about the policy in itself means that it’s making a change.”
Business teacher Mr. Norris also agrees with the decision to implement this new plan, saying, “I feel that when the administration has an idea or a plan to combat kids doing dumb things, I’m all for it.” He spends one third of his planning period every other day monitoring bathroom use by sitting at a desk in front of the G-hall bathrooms, checking students’ passes, and making sure that students don’t spend too long in the bathrooms. “All students have to sign in for when they go into the bathroom and sign out for when they come out, so if we have someone who’s in for an extended period of time we can make sure they’re not sick,” Norris said.
The new plan has evoked varying opinions from students. Some students, like sophomore Rachel Dewey, feel that the change is unfair. “I think it’s stupid,” she said. “It’s not going to stop kids from dealing drugs or whatever. They’re going to find another place.”
Junior Lindsey Allen feels similarly, saying, “It’s inefficient. People have to wait, like, five minutes to use the bathroom.”
Sophomore CJ Leight is also upset by this decision, saying, “People have the right to use the bathroom.”
“I feel like it doesn’t make any sense,” says senior Beyla Ventura. “It’s a complete invasion of privacy. There shouldn’t be a limit on how long you use the bathroom.”
Meanwhile, students like senior Alex Edache aren’t particularly opinionated on the matter. “I don’t really care,” Alex said.
According to Principal Davenport, this action was necessary, saying in an email to parents that “Students are congregating in the bathrooms, avoiding class, fighting, vaping, and vandalising the facilities.” As a result, a “safety plan” was put in effect to prevent these incidents: in between classes, administrators supervise the bathrooms, and during class time, students are to bring a pass from their teacher to the bathroom to present to the staff member on duty. The student will then sign in at a desk in front of the bathroom, writing their name and the time of bathroom entrance. Upon leaving the bathroom, students are to ‘sign out’ by writing the time of their bathroom departure. Staff members have monitored sign in times and checked to make sure that students who have spent excessive amounts of time in the bathroom are well.
With this new plan, bathroom use has been limited to a select few locations: the Auditorium Lobby, G-Hall, and the intersection of C and E Hall on the first floor, as well as the single use, gender neutral bathroom on the second floor.
“This new plan is not intended to be inconvenient for students or staff,” Principal Davenport said in her email. “Instead, we are hoping this will help us establish appropriate routines and increase accountability.”