MH Bathroom Blues


Working to fix the issues

Public Bathroom. When most people hear those two words, they shudder, cringe, or maybe even pinch their nose reflexively. And rightfully so: many public lavatories are riddled with unflushed toilets, scandalous graffiti, and pungent odors. The bathrooms at Morris Hills High School are no exception, from stalls that won’t lock to perpetually broken urinals to nonfunctional sinks.

A review of every bathroom in the school in order to determine the severity of this problem. Out of 46 stalls, 6 are unable to lock. This may not seem like a huge problem, but many of these problematic stalls are concentrated in one restroom, located near the library. Of six total stalls in this women’s bathroom, three do not lock, with one unable to even properly close. When one tries to close it, it swings around the other way. This leaves only three usable stalls, a big problem during crowded bathroom times, like prior to lunch and during the morning announcements. As far as sinks are concerned, one has been covered by a plastic bag since June of the 2017 to 2018 school year. The other sinks are made in such a way that the tap needs to be held to keep them running, which is incredibly unsanitary. To address this concern, the custodial staff cleans the bathrooms at least once, if not twice a day.

Some students interviewed reported that the bathroom problems have caused them to avoid utilizing the school restrooms. Students state that they tend to avoid them if they can; even if they have to go, they just hold it until the end of the day. This could cause major issues, since students could contract urinary tract infections (UTIs) from holding in their urine for so long, or worse, kidney stones. According to one senior, Aya Salim, “I always go out of my way to use the bathroom in the Science Wing because it is the only one with a reasonable sink,” referring to the sinks in other parts of the building that need to be held in place to run.

The school nurse, Mrs. Albicocco, reported, “Between eight and ten students use the bathroom in my office daily.” Mrs. Albicocco’s bathroom is cleaner and less used than the regular school bathrooms. This only further highlights the state of the student bathrooms.

This situation is one that must be addressed immediately, at the risk of serious health issues that may befall the students at Morris Hills. There are many ways that students can take action: volunteer projects can be started to clean and improve the aesthetics of the bathrooms. Mr. Merle, Morris Hills vice-principal said that, “When we get the chance to, the first bathrooms that we will fully renovate are the boys and girls bathrooms in the main lobby, and then the ones in the Academy building.” In response to the concern about the outdated taps that must be manually held down, Mr. Merle said, “We are slowly replacing those sinks with more sanitary ones, as our budget allows.” The main hindrance to solving the bathroom issues is, in fact, the budget. The money for bathroom renovations come from an overall building budget, which applies to all changes made to Morris Hills facilities. As a result, setting aside money for bathroom renovations can become a major issue. Furthermore, any large renovations must occur during breaks, because the large student population of Morris Hills makes it extremely inconvenient to work on a bathroom while school is in session. Mr. Merle, along with the rest of the Morris Hills administrators, are working to fix the bathroom issues the school faces, and, hopefully, because of their efforts, the students at Morris Hills will have better facilities in the future.