Girls bathrooms are atrocious, yet there has been no action taken to reform the state of the bathrooms by any of the users of said rooms, the female student body. In exchange for that, the other female students must suffer with dirty and odoriferous toilets. Recently, I went to the girls bathroom during my free period.
It was rather unfortunate, but I went into a bathroom stall with a toilet that has not been flushed since the last person. It turns out the toilet was broken, yet to be replaced. The female students should really be more careful when doing their business. If the female students do put in effort towards keeping the bathrooms clean during their potty break, the female students will improve in morale and responsibility. It is evident that the female students are dissatisfied with school bathrooms.
In a survey of New York public schools, 14 out of 35 schools did not have clean bathrooms, out by the New York City Healthy Schools Working Group. An educator, know as the founder and coordinator of Project CLEAN, a program dedicated into fixing up public school bathrooms, Dr. Tom Keating said, “The national slogan “Let’s Move” should mean eat better, exercise more, eliminate properly. Nasty school restrooms need to move from nasty to nice and stay nice.” He means that just as with eating better and exercising more, we also need sanitary bathrooms. For the better good of our bodies and minds, the girls bathrooms should start shaping up.
If female students start to clean up after themselves, they can provide a proper example for their peers to follow after. The problem lies to the fact that girls have a lot to clean up after, especially during their menstrual cycle. Our menstrual cycle happens every month for seven days or less and in between, 90% of the periods will be within the range of 21-45 days, according to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee (ACOG) on Adolescent Health Care resource document on their website. Not only does each female past the age of 12 years have their individual cycles, they also have to change pads or tampons three to six times a day, also according to the ACOG. Tampons and pads don’t flush down the toilet, but next to the toilet in the stall a metal container takes care of that.
However, since the container is rather small, it fills up quickly. That’s when the girls start placing their used pads outside of the container, only to block others from using the bin. While most girls would throw their pads in the trash can outside the stalls, others will most likely leave it on top of the metal container like the previous girl. Most girls should be responsible for their own mess, such as spilled blood or used pads, even if there may be a mess left by the previous girl; it does not give her the right to also not clean up her mess. It’ll not only make it easier for the janitors to clean, but will also provide an example for other female students to take responsibility of their actions towards practicing better bathroom habits. Vandalism can be reduced if the girls bathrooms are properly cared for.
Though the girls bathroom was made for the comfort of female students, it is still school property and should be respected like any classroom. Since the girls bathrooms are already in a state of disgust, with vandalized walls and wastes everywhere, it is unlikely that vandalism will discontinue inside bathroom stalls. A survey shows that 66% of schools had to replace their dispensers in a given year, while 31% of schools stated that dispenser vandalism is one of their biggest restroom problems, as researched by Kimberly-Clark Professional, a company that sells commercial washroom, industrial wiping, and safety products. In addition to KC Professional’s research, “students who go to school in well-equipped, modern facilities have scored higher academically than their peers in older, run down schools”. A theory that supports that vandalism can happen in effect of an already vandalized area is the broken windows theory, which states that by maintaining and monitoring urban environments in a well ordered condition, may stop further vandalism and escalation into more serious crimes.
This theory was introduced by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Killing in an article, “Broken Windows” that appeared in the March 1982 edition of the Atlantic Monthly. Though the graffiti on bathroom walls may not disappear, it is still possible prevent vandalism if female students act responsibly in the bathrooms. Health issues, such as diseases and germs might increase if the girls bathrooms get too unsanitary. Compared to the male students, female students stay longer in the bathrooms.
Unlike males, the females have to wipe their bottom, only to increase the chances of getting bacteria or viruses from the bathrooms. If female students leave their wiped tissues and used pads out in the open, it increases the chance for another female student to accidentally touch it. While it is good hygiene to wash your hands after using the bathroom, there are still some female students who don’t. In a study done by School Network for Absenteeism Prevention, “only 58% of female middle and high school students washed their hands after using the bathroom.” Amanda Santana, 16, once told me that she never goes to the bathroom because she fears that she might get a disease from there, which is possible.
Getting sick because of a bad trip to the bathroom is not worth anyone’s time. Infectious diseases can cause a loss of millions of school day and costs the United States $120 billion a year, stated by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Therefore, to prevent disease, female students will have to start practicing better bathroom hygiene for the good of other female students and their education. Female students are not the only cause to unsanitary bathrooms because janitors are also responsible for keeping the school facility in tip top shape. The janitors should have been emptying the metal container of used pads, and cleaning up graffiti.
But, it seems they may not be doing their jobs since the bathrooms are still messy and unsanitary. However, the exception may be if there are not enough janitors in our school, especially female janitors. While an average school janitor’s salary is $27,535 per year according to CareerBuilder.com, in New York, it is $28,100 per year. Janitors have to work full time, too, in order to get a $3,009 time off, $6,507 for health care, and $1,564 for pension, according to Salary.com. That’s a lot of money, and school janitors are considered the second highest paying job, as listed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Our schools are already low on budget, though we may have Smartboards in most classes; there might not be enough to hire school janitors to just clean out the bathrooms every hour.
That’s why the female students should take it to clean up after themselves, for themselves, their peers, and for our only lady janitors. High school girls can learn to become responsible by taking care of their bathrooms. They can also learn to pick up better bathroom habits that will help prevent diseases. Thought they may be at an age where they get selfish and messy, it won’t do well for their bathrooms if their bad habits take place. School is not their home and the janitors are not their mothers.
The bathrooms are always going to have messes, but if female students can band together in efforts to help the situation, the bathrooms can start to shape up.