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SMNW

The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest

SMNW

The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest

SMNW

Little Stall Of Horrors

Staffing issues and students poor treatment of restrooms at Northwest cause issues to arise

A sixth-hour APUSH student raises their hand to go to the bathroom. It could be to actually use the bathroom, probably to blow their nose, but most likely to text their friends. Either way, it doesn’t matter because instead of being met with order, they’re faced with chaos. 

“I think they need a lot of work,” junior Sophia Jackson said. “A lot of the soap dispensers don’t like at all. You have to reach all the way across the sinks to get them. Or you just have to go all the way around to the other side. A lot of the locks are broken off the stalls so sometimes I’ll forget and I’ll walk in there for nothing. None of the paper towel dispensers work. And they smell a lot of the time, which I know is something no one can really control.”

In a survey posted on Instagram by The Northwest Passage, 49 out of 50 students said they viewed the cleanliness of the bathrooms negatively, specifically toward the women’s bathrooms.

However according to head custodian, John Cole, there aren’t any female cleaning staff to take care of restrooms in the afternoons.

“On that note we of course work with administration to lock down a restroom when a disaster occurs,” Cole said in an email. “But general cleaning throughout the day just isn’t feasible currently and all restrooms are checked for cleanliness every morning before students arrive.”

Even so, problems within school restrooms have repeatedly arisen after lunch hours. Meaning from 11:30 to 3:00 students could go without soap, toilet paper, paper towels or menstrual products.

“I feel like it’s always been going on, but now that the private restrooms were open it’s gotten a little bit worse,” junior Cynthia Lopez Mendez said. “People don’t flush. Sometimes there’s writing on the wall, I’ve seen fluids. It’s disgusting.”

Cynthia also describes having friends who are germaphobes and feel uncomfortable using the restrooms at Northwest, waiting until the bell rings to go home, which can lead to discomfort.

That being said, janitors and custodians are given the impression each day that the physical state of the bathrooms are their full responsibility, insinuating that they are at fault for the gross misconduct of students.

 Reports, especially from the boys’ restroom, depict students throwing lunch contents, apple juice and spitting gum on the floors and or walls.

“I think they’re pretty run down, there’s not a singular lock that works in the entire school, from what I’ve discovered,” junior Gustin Teschendorf said, somewhat sarcastically. “Um, yeah, no soap, paper towels all over the floor. Some guys think they’re more confident than they are and they miss either the urinal or the toilet. A lot of people just think it’s funny to do random stuff and make a disaster of it.”

Teschendorf also said that male students will apply soap to paper towels and smack the backs of other students with it, cover the restroom with a long strip of paper towel or leave excess amounts of toilet paper in the stall.

“I go there maybe once every three weeks and I see all these things,” Teschendorf said.

Cole couldn’t be reached for further comment.

Principal Lisa Gruman states that a reason for the lack of soap may result from a lack of cleaning up dispensing parts including the possibility of cleaning crews missing items on the checklist, however, administration poses a possible solution to the issue.

“If there’s still an issue throughout the day, then we’ll find a way to close those so a custodian can get into them to update the soap ,” Gruman said.

 

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About the Contributor
Sofia Ball, Writer
Hi! My name is Sofia Ball and I am a writer for the Northwest Passage. Writing started out as a hobby for me. Something I never imagined I would be good at until about 7th grade after taking a creative writing class with Dr. Van Zant. I just started out as a freshman, and already, I've come to know and love many of the classes, teachers and students here at Northwest. I’d like to think of myself as an extrovert, but most of my freetime is spent either reading, writing or watching Netflix in my bedroom. I used to watch The Office all the time before it got removed. The only time you'll ever see me out and about is probably at Cross Country or Track practice. You may even see me handing out our latest newspaper issues around the school.

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