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To Lock or Unlock: That is the Question

From left: guest contributors Joshua Garcia and Jesse Cendejas in front of one of the many restrooms locked during class time. Photo taken March 26, 2019 during 5th period.

From left: guest contributors Joshua Garcia and Jesse Cendejas in front of one of the many restrooms locked during class time. Photo taken March 26, 2019 during 5th period.

Alexandra Mares

From left: guest contributors Joshua Garcia and Jesse Cendejas in front of one of the many restrooms locked during class time. Photo taken March 26, 2019 during 5th period.

Alexandra Mares

Alexandra Mares

From left: guest contributors Joshua Garcia and Jesse Cendejas in front of one of the many restrooms locked during class time. Photo taken March 26, 2019 during 5th period.

To Lock or Unlock: That is the Question

Two GFHS students debate the merit of safety and convenience with student restrooms

April 1, 2019

Unlock School Restrooms

Ever since the school year started, the boys restrooms have been continuously locked, except for one near the cafeteria.  This not only caused anger among students during passing periods, but also tardy cards. As a student, this concerns me.

I use the men’s room about three to four times during school hours.  The passing period gives us seven minutes to do our needs and get to class.  However, there is no way we can manage that at once.

I had an idea of why they suddenly locked the male restrooms, but I wanted solid proof , so I interviewed Leonor Delaguila, assistant principal, to find the real reason behind the locked bathrooms.  

“We are getting too many kids, particularly the ninth graders, who are smoking in there,” said Delaguila.

Unfortunately, this is not the only school who has misused restrooms.  In the essay “Deterring Abuse and Vandalism in School Restrooms” the author states that “restrooms often become hideaways for those students who are bent on mischief — smoking or using drugs.”  However, there is a larger percentage of people who use the restrooms for what it’s meant for, than those who go to smoke.

The drawback is that locking the restrooms have only stopped a few, and, there are students who smoke in the stalls, making the lines longer.  Students who need to use the restroom, get irritated but they feel guilty reporting those students, therefore, the rule-breaking students are not stopped.

Those individuals who are smoking substances need to be aware that smoking on a daily basis leads to mental health issues.  On, they state that “the link between drug use and mental health issues is common.”  Having one mental health issue can lead to another, and even increase the likelihood of “needing” the drug.

One solution is to report any suspicious behavior seen in the restroom, regardless, if you know the person or not. Take into consideration someone’s health as well as having one less person to worry about.

Our principal and administrators are trying to come up with solutions to keep the restrooms safe and open.  

Delaguila said, “We are trying to hire more people so that way we have more eyes out there.”  In fact, she is even willing to recruit parents who are available for supervision in restrooms.  

People smoking should also play a role.  If they want to continue smoking, at least they should wait until after school and off campus.  This way, the whole school isn’t involved and everyone is minding their own business.

There has to be a different method of handling this situation, for the sake of the innocents.  It’s not fair for the ones who don’t do that stuff to have to hold it.

We shouldn’t pay the price for stupid behavior.  


  1. Robert Morgan on March 27th, 2019 8:14 am

    I think that the students should have the ability to use the restroom. We feed the students…so they should be able to get it out in some form or another. The longer it has to digest increases the discomfort in later class periods. My period 5 and 6 are a continual rotation of bathroom passes. I am not sure how to handle this but I know that student discomfort leads to less learning. Thanks

  2. brayan on March 27th, 2019 8:15 am

    I believe there should be new rules applied to this because not many students like waiting long to use the restroom and its unhealthy.

  3. Vania Pinto on March 27th, 2019 8:46 am

    I looked at the California Plumbing Code and learned that there is a minimum requirement of 1 toilet per 50 male students and 1 urinal per 100 male students. I don’t know how many toilets and urinals are in that one restroom that is open but I doubt it is enough. If there are 2000 students and half are boys then there should be 20 toilets and 10 urinals. Once again I really don’t think there are that many toilets or urinals in the cafeteria restroom. That basically means locking those restrooms is illegal and the school administration definitely needs to find a solution if they want to stay out of trouble.

  4. Stacy on March 27th, 2019 9:41 am

    You all want to talk about the boy’s restroom. How about we get talking about the girls restroom. Girls don’t have as much or any vandalism like the boys restroom and it gets the most administration visits. Not only are the girls restrooms locked at times, they are constantly being supervised. Not in the proper way, but to some people invasion of their privacy. The way the security rushes into the restroom in an improper way. As if she is trying to catch someone in an act. Then, stands inside for a long period and observes every one in the room, some more than others. In a place that should be private, it feels uncomfortable.
    Female restrooms are always more impacted than males, this has been controversial for some time now. Locking all restrooms is not helping that problem. People are waiting too long to relieve themselves. Holding in urine can weaken the bladder muscles over time and cause urinary tract infections due to bacteria build-up.
    Locking restrooms is taking unnecessary time away from students and teachers. It’s not helping.

  5. carlos on March 27th, 2019 1:07 pm

    I think the bathroom issue has been something that’s been extremely frustrating to deal with. I get the fact that there needs to be some sort of discipline, but not everyone should have to pay for the actions of a small percentage of students. I, and many others, just need to go to the bathroom, and it’s very inconvenient that we miss lots of class time just because there’s only one bathroom on campus that’s open. It’s annoying, and probably illegal 🙁

  6. Alexis Armenta on March 27th, 2019 1:14 pm

    Unlocking the restroom would allow students to decrease the risk of getting a bladder infection because holding urine affects the bladder. Although there are students not following the rules, the school should open the restrooms but keep more supervision.

  7. Diego Ochoa on March 27th, 2019 1:59 pm

    More supervision and open bathrooms

  8. Ivan Ochoa on March 27th, 2019 2:07 pm

    I think locking the restrooms isn’t really a good idea because people that just need to use the restroom are being punished based on the behavior of other students that abuse their privileges. It’s really frustrating being in the 2nd building and having to go all the way down to the lunch area just to go to the bathroom and if the school wants students to be safe they should hire more people to patrol and supervise the bathrooms instead of locking them.

  9. Marco on March 27th, 2019 2:07 pm

    There should be a new rule implemented because it’s not fair to have only one bathroom open.

  10. Asia on March 27th, 2019 2:07 pm

    The bathroom issue should be viewed as a different matter because closing all the bathrooms makes matters worse for students. Many of the students have to walk from the second building towards the cafeteria bathrooms because those are the only ones that are open. This is very frustrating because it causing us to waste our time to walk to the bathrooms that are father from us instead going to the one close by. There should be a rule change regarding the bathrooms because we shouldn’t be paying for the consequences of others.

  11. Angelica Diaz on March 27th, 2019 2:08 pm

    Locking the boys and girls restroom isn’t going to give any result if the students who smoke at the restroom know they are checking the restroom they will just find another way to do their thing. Meanwhile, other students are suffering the consequences because we are the ones getting tardy cards or having to leave class for a long period of time looking for which restroom is opened and it isn’t good for our bladder.

  12. guillermo flores on March 27th, 2019 2:10 pm

    I think they shouldnt lock the restrooms because many students actually need to use the restroom and it is not fair that they have to wait just cause some people want to smoke in there

  13. Jesus Christ on March 28th, 2019 12:18 pm

    As a student at Godinez, I have read the rules at the back of Walker’s classroom and the staff locking the restrooms is violating our rights here, disgraceful, I’m transferring to Segerstrom I heard they let their students pee in peace.

  14. Alyssa on May 24th, 2019 8:49 am

    Students want to do other things that aren’t allowed at school and as a result, all the restrooms are being closed. I don’t think it’s right to lock all the restrooms and have people wait in long lines to use the one restroom that is allowed to be open. The inane activities being done in the restrooms by students have everyone else upset because everyone has to pay the price of waiting in a long line and being late to class. These inexorable activities have made many people upset. The school doesn’t tolerate smoking or other bad things but that doesn’t mean they have to punish the whole school for it.

  15. Mercedes Barriga on May 24th, 2019 11:47 am

    All students at Godinez are cognizant of how the bathrooms are being misused and what has been occurring, but most of us are uninvolved. Innocent students are being punished for something they take no part in. Closing down the bathrooms is ineffectual and exacerbates the already underlying problems. The problem isn’t the bathrooms, it is the students using them for malignant reasons such as smoking. To deal with problems such as these, you must attack the source. I can understand where the administrators are coming from, but by just tiptoeing around the problem they are creating more anger and discomfort among the students. Having unhappy students means having students that are not working their best. The desire for the bathrooms to reopen is almost ubiquitous. Therefore, the administration should find new ways of reprimanding the culprits while
    still making sure their students have access to a basic necessity.

  16. Lorena Esquivel on May 27th, 2019 5:47 pm

    As a student, I believe it is wrong of the staff locking not only boys restroom but at times also the girls’ restroom. I also think that it was wrong that the students were not cognizant of what was happening and that they had to find out, out of nowhere. In my opinion, I find it fretful that staff goes in and out of the restrooms and for some students, it may feel an invasion of their privacy. I think through the time they have made the purpose of locking the restrooms an even greater compound because they have been making students late to class which does not benefit the students because they lose more time of learning.

Lock the Restrooms

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Lock the Restrooms

Godinez students wait patiently during 2nd lunch to use the only restroom that is available.

Godinez students wait patiently during 2nd lunch to use the only restroom that is available.

Steve Pineda

Godinez students wait patiently during 2nd lunch to use the only restroom that is available.

Steve Pineda

Steve Pineda

Godinez students wait patiently during 2nd lunch to use the only restroom that is available.

My first year of high school freshman year, restrooms were used responsibly. Now a few years later, that has changed.

This is due to the fact that the boys restrooms are always locked except for one, the restroom in the cafeteria. With seven minute passing periods to use the restrooms, there isn’t enough time and students are arriving late to their classes due to locked restrooms.

As my concern and frustrations grow, I got answers from the assistant principal, Leonor Delaguila why the restrooms are locked. The answer Delaguila gave me made sense. There are students smoking in the restrooms, specifically 9th graders.

Several times I’ve used the restroom this year where I saw that fog of smoke roaming through the restroom air. This type of activity happens so frequently I’m ignoring it.

In 2018, 52% of all teens from ages 12-18 in California reported having smoked marijuana, which is the highest it has ever been. With marijuana now legal to adults 18 years old and up in California, the fear is that rate will increase even more.

According to the essay, “Deterring Abuse and Vandalism in School Restrooms” students smoking in school restrooms is a growing issue. This essay states that school restrooms are perfect hideaway spots for mischievous students due to the lack of supervision.

When I addressed this specific reasoning and the lack of supervision Delaguila said that she was going to expand the number of adult supervisors to decrease the number of students smoking.

Delaguila then added that she is not going to give up until she has all the supervision needed to stop students from smoking in the restroom.

So by locking the restrooms and only being limited to one, it helps decrease the number of the students smoking in the restroom.

But there are many students that have medical issues that cause them to need to use the restroom. Why is it that students who use the restrooms responsibly have to suffer the same consequences of those who use the restrooms irresponsibly?

Although it is frustrating only being limited to the use of one restroom, I completely understand and respect the reasoning behind the locked restrooms. I now know that it is only for the better of our school and for the better of students. I strongly support the administration for doing what they need to do to make our school a better place.

If I am only limited to using one restroom to help and benefit the school, I am all for it.

  1. Erika Ortiz on March 27th, 2019 8:15 am

    Honestly, after reading this article I kind of understand why the school has felt the need to lock the restrooms. Weed has shown to be harmful to some students here. That being said, I feel that the supervision and constant security guard presence in the bathrooms is just as helpful. Not to mention, some students have bladder problems and have to go in between every period or they risk a serious accident. This also causes more students to ask for bathroom passes in the actual classes, which defeats the whole purpose that traveling to different classrooms wastes time , when constantly asking to go to the bathroom does the same thing.

  2. Alex on March 27th, 2019 11:43 am

    Why are the girls complaining at least they can go to the nearest restrooms while we have to go downstairs and wait because now there is a LINE in the boy’s restroom. ;(

  3. Chris on March 27th, 2019 2:04 pm

    I agree with limiting the restrooms if it is for the use of stopping such an epidemic. I think it is a great start to a bigger solution. Just as some have stated I find it uncomfortable to know that this happens so often I have become desensitized to these things.

  4. Odalys on March 27th, 2019 2:06 pm

    I agree with closing the restrooms because just as Jesse stated it is worth it to close them during school hours if it is for a greater cause. I think it is eyeopening because it is teaching us that one mistake from yourself can impact not only your day but someone else´s as well. It teaches to be aware of consequences.

  5. Ian on March 27th, 2019 2:07 pm

    It is always unfortunate to have to move from one side of the school to the lunch area every time in class. Even then, the lines at the lunch bathrooms are long. Although easier said than done, we should punish those who are doing the actions rather than everyone that is a boy. But I know for a fact that is almost impossible to catch everyone in the act.

  6. Juan on March 27th, 2019 2:08 pm

    To be honest this isn’t going to better the situation of doing drugs in the restrooms because until we have further restrictions it’s not fair for those who are just trying to use the restrooms.

  7. Karen on March 27th, 2019 2:09 pm

    I think this is a problem. Its good that the security guards and other adults are consistently checking the boys and girls bathroom because of what many are doing. However, it’s not fair to everyone else because students simply need to use the restroom and the long lines and closed restrooms makes it difficult. This can cause us to be late to class which is another issue. Students that need to use the restroom because of health reasons is a really good point to bring up in this situation.

  8. Juan on March 27th, 2019 9:29 pm

    I don’t mind that the restrooms are locked, yes it sucks but if it’s for a better cause I am all for it. Although with all respect girls tend to smoke as much as guys at school yet the girls aren’t being affected as much as the guys are. I have realized by going to the restrooms after 1st and during 4th that the upstairs restrooms on the far side of the school are always locked yet the girls restrooms are open. All I am trying to say is that it sucks when you really need to go and you walk up to the restroom door and bruh… it’s closed and what hurts more is that need to go and a girl walks into their restroom unlocked. My opinion is not towards girls but equality for both genders, if the students are going to suffer consequences for irresponsibility lets have them all be part of it if they are both doing it. Thank You…mic drop

  9. Jram on March 29th, 2019 11:06 am

    OK, lets talk. let me just start off by saying that not all men are doing what y’all think we are doing. lets not accuse someone for someone else actions. I want this to be known that its not only the guys doing all these dumb actions, Not to be a snitch or anything but girls be doing some of these things too and they don’t get nothing for it. I feel like its unfair. MEN RIGHTS MATTER !!! Unlock the restrooms man our bladders hurt.


  10. Nicholas Medrano on May 24th, 2019 8:48 am

    I think the restrooms being locked is a bad idea because it afflicts many students. For one, it causes many students to endure long lines that take forever. It also causes many students to be late to classes. Since smoking is the problem here, they school should probably just put smoke alarms in the restrooms. This way, there won’t be anymore vexatious lines and kids can go into restrooms respite and get to class on time.

  11. Erick Garcia on May 24th, 2019 10:56 am

    The locking of the boys restroom was a thoughtful decision, but not an effective one. These students (mostly boys) who smoke or vape in the restroom stalls, will not change without the proper help or advice. Being realistic as a human being, they will not stop smoking just because we lock up all the restrooms. They will not stop their addiction just because some staff that knows nothing about them tells them its not okay. It starts by making a change within the schools atmosphere and the people around them. Students should encourage one another to not be doing these activities in school as it is illegal and could get them into deeper trouble then they already are in. People are free to do whatever they want, don’t get me wrong, but not within school or its premises. Many students can feel unsafe or insecure due to the use of these drugs or substances being used by people around them. You must be an incompetent dupe to believe that locking the restrooms will magically resolve the issue. It should be addressed in a different effective manner like previously mentioned, by encouraging student to make the dope-heads aware of others and not just themselves. It might sound brash but these drug users are inconsiderate nincompoops for not being aware of others especially those who have medical issues and require to use the restroom more often than others. They (medically ill) are not responsible for the users addiction. You are free to do whatever you’d like but please be considerate of other!!! I digress. I hope we can find a better solution than what is currently being used but for now, my greatest condolences to GFHS’ men’s bladders.

  12. Angela Sierra on May 25th, 2019 6:59 pm

    Many students are avid for more information about the locked restrooms, the boys public statements became increasingly pugnacious. This inexorable rule has made many students upset and late to class. However, after reading through this article and hearing the vice principal’s perspective, I agree that locking the bathrooms is disciplining the students to not smoke in the restrooms. After all, we are a fundamental school and should know how to respect our school and classmates. The pernicious influences of freshmans have affect boys privilege of using the restrooms during passing periods. As reading the comments I read through that the desire fro re-opening the men’s bathroom is almost ubiquitous and there must be another solution to it.

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