What’s happening with the bathroom doors?

Neha Madhira, Assistant Editor

After alternative behaviors occurred frequently in the bathrooms, the administration removed the bathroom doors. They were put back on in certain locations when they noticed there was a modesty issue, as students could see into them.

“So the initial reason to remove the doors was prompted really for safety,” assistant principal John Boehringer said. “Lots of reports have come to our office. I know that students certainly have been talking about the alternative behaviors that have been occurring in the bathrooms. It’s really one of the few spaces where you could go to in the school and not be observed because there are no cameras.”

Boehringer said that fights and vaping were the most repetitive to happen in the bathrooms and although vaping has been a problem since he started working at the high school three years ago, it became more widespread this year.

“So, the idea was proposed that we take the bathroom doors off,” Boehringer said. “Middle schools don’t have them. Our middle schools don’t have them. A lot of other schools and public spaces, in general, do not have exterior doors.”

The entire administration made the decision to have the doors removed and they did receive several phone calls and emails when rumors spread around.

“There was initially some confusion and there were a lot of rumors that we had taken the stall doors off or the partitions inside the bathrooms,” Boehringer said. “By in large, once we had explained that we had removed the external doors, there were really few complaints that I was personally aware of but initially, there was a lot of confusion.”

One or two days after the doors were removed, students approached Boehringer and said that they could see into them.

“In several of the restrooms, we discovered that you could, when walking in the hall, sometimes having to crane your neck, you could see a reflection of the bathrooms from the mirrors,” Boehringer said. “That didn’t really give the level of modesty that we want for our students in the restrooms.”

Boehringer said that because of this, a proposal was made to remove some of the mirrors but this didn’t really work with construction issues.

“In some of the locations, the walls aren’t as long as some of the others and so I guess you could say it was an afterthought, but we didn’t want students to see into the bathrooms,” Boehringer said. “There were some issues with removing the mirrors and the construction. We obviously didn’t want giant, gaping holes in the walls.”

When the doors were initially removed, this was a surprise for students and some started to vandalize the walls or rip more mirrors off the walls.

“Mr. Parr, who is the building manager, he knew about it and I didn’t know about it until the day of and he told us about it. It was not like a secret among us or anything,” Boehringer said. “The students who were identified, and we did identify around six students received pretty substantial disciplinary consequences. We were able to identify some of them. I wasn’t aware that there was a whole school story that had been created but I am not terribly surprised.”

Boehringer said that social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter are actually where the administration or community members find videos of students behaving inappropriately in bathrooms. He also said that because administrators cannot be constantly watching them, it is hard to be aware of everything that is going on.

“As of right now, the doors will only put back on in the locations that you can see into,” Boehringer said. “We work in a fluid environment, and the decisions we make today might not be the best for our students months or years from now so I cannot tell you what’s going to happen down the road but my understanding is that the situation with the doors, is that the restrooms with doors will remain that way and without, will stay that way as well.”