Investigation reveals poor conditions in school bathrooms

By Eloisa Perez, Makhia Burley, and Breonia Holley

At Patterson High School, the conditions of the bathrooms are poor. The Patterson Press launched an investigation to figure out why.

Some of problems that have been identified by students and staff are lack of supplies, broken toilets and sinks, trash on the floor, and students locked out when they need to use the bathroom.

History teacher Mr. Ted Smith said he tries to avoid the bathrooms because they are dirty and smell really bad. “I try not to use them ever again. Sometimes I have to use them but I try to avoid it I say maybe a couple times a week but I try to avoid it”, Mr. Smith said.

Coach Brian R. Miles Sr. suggested, “They can use more scented things in the bathrooms like air freshener” so the bathroom will have a good aroma.

Most students resist going to the bathrooms because they are dirty and smell really bad. They also say when they go to the bathrooms there are no supplies that they need such as soap, paper towels, toilet paper, etc. Kaija Johnson is a student in Patterson High and she said, “They are dirty and they need to clean them a little bit more”. Johnson said the girls need to stop putting their pads in the toilets because that’s a problem in the girls bathroom. Some girls put their pads in the toilets because their are no disposal bins in stalls. Some students and teachers also expressed that it would be good to have vending machines for pads and other feminine hygiene products in the girls’ and women’s bathrooms.

On March 12, we gave a survey about the bathrooms to 50 students in both A and B lunch periods. One of the questions was about what supplies are usually missing when students use the bathroom. 60% of the students said that there is no soap, paper towels, or toilet paper when they go use the bathrooms. Mr. Robert Jones is one of the janitors at Patterson High and when we asked why is there no supplies in the bathrooms he said, “because they take the toilet paper and the soap and snatch it off the wall”. Mr. Jones is saying that the students take the supplies from the bathrooms and that is why there are no supplies in the bathrooms.

88% of students report that they have avoided using the bathrooms at Patterson because they are dirty. (Source: Survey of 50 students from both lunch periods. March 12, 2019).

Some teachers are trying to change the way the bathrooms look like by painting the main doors as a woman cartoon or a man cartoon for the girls and boys and also painting the stalls a different color. Nancy Holter, one of the art teachers at Patterson, is painting the bathrooms with her class.

“I wanted to make the bathrooms cute and to make it look positive for the students”, said Ms. Holter, because she thought the school looked bleak and she wanted to change that. Ms. Holter and her students have painted the main doors for the bathrooms and now are moving to painting the stalls.

“I want to bring in soap and like lotion for the girls bathrooms because we need to be treated like human beings… People in prison have more supplies than us”, she said. Ms. Holter wants to see more change then just the color of the bathrooms.

In conclusion, the Patterson Press found out that the Patterson bathrooms are mostly dirty because of the students. At least that’s what the janitors are saying. We also found out that the bathrooms are not in good condition because “the school is old and it’s worn down”, as Principal Vance Benton put it. Mr. Benton explained that the school district is not going to spend a lot of money on fixing pipes and other facilities because construction for the school new is going to start in June.

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