Students Continue to Hold it as Restrooms Stay Locked

The+boys+restroom+door+is+kept+open+during+the+school+day%2C+not+giving+boys+privacy+as+seen+here.+Picture+taken+on+November+6%2C+2019+at+9%3A13+a.m.+during+the+middle+of+2nd+period.
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Students Continue to Hold it as Restrooms Stay Locked

The boys restroom door is kept open during the school day, not giving boys privacy as seen here. Picture taken on November 6, 2019 at 9:13 a.m. during the middle of 2nd period.

The boys restroom door is kept open during the school day, not giving boys privacy as seen here. Picture taken on November 6, 2019 at 9:13 a.m. during the middle of 2nd period.

Cynthia Molina

The boys restroom door is kept open during the school day, not giving boys privacy as seen here. Picture taken on November 6, 2019 at 9:13 a.m. during the middle of 2nd period.

Cynthia Molina

Cynthia Molina

The boys restroom door is kept open during the school day, not giving boys privacy as seen here. Picture taken on November 6, 2019 at 9:13 a.m. during the middle of 2nd period.

Cynthia Molina and Jonathan Uriostegui

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It’s been a year of restrooms being locked and nothing has changed. Godinez Fundamental High School students hesitate using the restrooms on campus because of improper use of the facilities. 

Since the closing of some restrooms last spring, and the continued practice of monitoring the restrooms that do remain open, students hold it in, concentrate on other things, and avoid drinking liquids so they don’t have to use the restroom during school hours. 

“Once I’m home, I drink a lot of water to make up for the water I didn’t drink at school,” said yearbook editor and a senior, Stephany Limon. 

The restrooms are maintained by custodians, but slowly throughout the day, they are “trashed” by students. Wet paper towels are thrown across bathrooms sticking to any and every surface, stalls are tagged, and the smoking of pens, pot and cigarettes continues. The smell of feces is present throughout the day due to students who do not flush, while other students choose to destroy the restrooms’ soap and paper dispensers.

Actions like these makes GFHS administration keep only first floor restrooms available because they are tired of restrooms being vandalized over and over again. Staff consistently checks  restrooms to make sure they are not vandalized. But security can choose to close them when they are either vandalized or smell like urine and feces.

“The restrooms aren’t locked all the time, they are locked at certain times. Because of vandalism, I think I might have replaced the paper dispenser, in the downstairs restroom by the cafeteria, about eight times,” said principal Jesse Church.

Many students are furious that they have to use designated restrooms instead of the one that is closest to them. Because of the closings, students are forced to use class time rather than going during passing periods. When students want to use the restroom in between periods, half the time restrooms are closed, crowded, or a security guard is forming a line outside the boys’ restroom. 

It is clear the boys’ restroom has major issues staying clean. “I think women continue to do an excellent job keeping (the girls’) restrooms clean. The major concern we’ve had this year is the vandalism in the male restrooms,” said Church.

Due to students smoking in restrooms, the idea of installing smoke detectors has been brought up numerous times. But smoke detectors is not an option for administration as assistant principal Leonor Delaguila explains, “The fire alarms are activated by the sensors, the sensors that are in there, we have light sensors as well, are able to detect anything. So smoke detectors would not benefit us.” 

Long lines cause some students to not use the restroom. “I only use the school restroom if it’s an emergency but when I do go, I always go into a stall because the urinal has no space for privacy. When it’s packed during passing periods, I just leave because I find it ridiculous waiting that long to handle my business,” said junior, Juan Vasquez.

The boys’ restroom door by the cafeteria is kept open all day, everyday. With the door wide open, boys refuse to use the urinals because they do not have dividers for privacy. Therefore, they wait for stalls but not all the stalls are usable. Some stalls do not have doors, toilet paper dispensers are empty or missing, or the toilet is clogged leaving visible human waste.

Senior Abigail Garcia, is one of many girls who feels uncomfortable seeing boys in the restroom while eating her lunch. “They don’t have to open the doors so that we can all see what they’re doing. We all need our privacy and the restrooms are next to the lunch tables. We don’t want to be flashed when we’re eating,” said Garcia. 

Garcia is not the only one who’s uncomfortable. Senior Jared Rivas, feels the same way, “I don’t think students are getting any privacy since the restrooms are right there. It’s uncomfortable.” 

Santa Ana Unified School District is aware of students’ frustrations. When interviewed, assistant superintendent Daniel Allen acknowledged there is a problem. 

Allen said, “Facility challenges take more time to address because they are expensive to fix, (it) takes time to do the work, and there is the challenge of needing the restrooms on a day to day basis. So often, those upgrades have to be done on a break when students are not on campus.” 

Delaguila hopes, “to get dividers for the urinals so that way the boys can go in there and not make a line for one stall.”

But no timeline has been given as to when the boys’ restrooms will get dividers or the heavy monitoring with an “open door” policy will decrease.

The hope as the school year continues, is administration works on giving students solutions for this annoying problem. In the meantime, students continue to hold it and wait.