Bathroom policy disputed, admin walks back on original idea

The reasons for the newest bathroom policy and teacher disapproval on bathroom closers.

Early in December, a new bathroom policy was planned to be put into effect that would have closed the bathrooms during passing periods and required sign in/out sheets in classrooms. However, the policy was met with instant disapproval by teachers, and soon mostly abandoned.  

The plan to close bathrooms during passing periods was reversed the day after proposal.  Amy Query, the math department head, and the math department as a whole were first to speak up and lead the charge in being against the bathroom closers. Her reason was students have good reason to use the bathrooms such as medical problems or menstruation. She believes admin would be punishing “good kids for bad kids’ behavior.” 

Query also believes that passing period is the students time to do what they need to do and limiting what they can do intervenes on their time. She brought up that some teachers have their own policies exclusive to their rooms such as limited bathroom passes. Principal Jason Smith believes since there are a lot of students it is better that teachers produce their own bathroom policy and police their own rooms.   

Because of the concerns being voiced by the teachers the bathrooms were never closed during passing periods. The policy that has survived the teachers and math department is the sign in/out sheets.  

In the email sent by assistant principal Sam Sharpe to all the staff, he stated the reason for the sheets is to, “better track student whereabouts.”  

Smith said: “At least we have a window an idea of when people left and where they went.”   

Smith says knowing when and where a student goes helps with students’ safety. But since the enactment of the sign in and out sheets are so recent the sheets have not been collected. 

“There are some days where everything is great and so we don’t need to worry about,” Smith said.   

But there has been a time where the sheets have been used to track a student who has lied about their whereabouts.  

“It’s been helpful in that way; we have used it to help but I don’t have any specific data in full yet,” Smith said.   

The reason bathrooms are occasionally closed is because of vaping and vandalism by students. Administration says that students reporting those acts is the best way for staff to put a stop to it. When a student reports to a teacher, the teacher radios to an administrator that tries to make their way to the bathroom to catch a student in the act, and if they do, disciplinary actions are perused. Disciplinary action can be as lenient as detention to as severe as expulsion depending on the severity of the offense.   

There will most likely always be issues with the bathrooms and will most likely never go away, but Smith would like to see some changes in the future.  

“One thing I would like to see is really more about education of why vaping is bad, and the damage it does to your lungs and respiratory system,” Smith said.  

Smith would like students to be educated on why vaping is so unhealthy for them and the long-term effects it can have.  He is hoping that maybe a lesson plan taught by second period teachers or maybe next year at the beginning of the year in all classes a curriculum can take place to educate all students.  Some schools have turned to social media accounts that students will hopefully see that spread the anti-vaping information.   

“This is not just a Rogers problem – this is a nationwide problem,” said Smith.   

The idea of closing the bathrooms during passing periods never happened according to Smith. Staff and teachers displayed their dislike for that plan causing admin to change it.   

“I was happy and proud of our teachers for listening to students and being concerned and voicing opinions,” Smith said.   

The best way for students to voice their concerns on policy and plans is to talk to your student council representative and have them speak up at the student council meetings. Smith said if enough people come to him or other administration staff and with concerns, that they will be heard and talked about and they will see what the best way for change is. Also, if students have ideas themselves about better way policy can be changed that they are free to voice it directly to admin.   

“Overall, we have to educate students and hold students accountable for the dangers of vaping … I want everyone to be able to use the bathrooms and not have to worry about that,” said Smith.