JACKSON – Concerned about student safety and health, a parent asked officials why bathrooms were locked in her child’s school.
“There is a shortage of open bathrooms. They are locking the bathrooms in the high schools and I’m a little disappointed that there aren’t more parents here (about the issue),” Parent Robin Friedman said during a recent Board of Education meeting.
“My concern is that the students are going to the nurse’s office to go to the bathroom and are utilizing services that are needed for other students and being exposed to sickness and I’m surprised that isn’t a number one issue,” she added. “Apparently there is supposed to be a schedule for open bathrooms. When a teacher is out, there is a teacher who is supposed to have a key to open the bathroom but substitute teachers apparently have no idea what is going on as to who is to open the bathroom. Maybe it is a communication issue.”
Friedman added, “the other concern is that some bathrooms have feminine hygiene products and if the bathrooms aren’t open, they are being denied that.”
She also noted that with locked bathrooms “if something should happen like in other areas with shootings that are all over the news…children might have been saved if the bathrooms were unlocked.
“I don’t understand why the bathrooms are locked? I don’t know if it is a vaping issue or a destruction issue or the kids are cutting class. I don’t understand what is happening but why are we not punishing students who need to be punished and not punishing the good students,” she added. “I know this is a national trend and that Jackson isn’t the only one facing this and are locking the bathroom.”
Superintendent Nicole Pormilli responded concerning the bathroom situation saying, “we do have some challenges in our bathrooms at the high schools and our administrators and teachers are working hard to monitor those things. We have students who are making poor choices.”
“Sometimes we don’t have the coverage to monitor all of that. We continue to teach and educate our students to please not destroy it and we continue to work on it,” she added.
As vaping becomes more popular in schools across America, news publications report that students often go to the bathroom to do it. To keep from getting caught, they will sometimes flush materials down the toilet. For example, the Nantucket Current published an article on January 6 that the local school district recovered “hundreds” of vape pens from damaged plumbing over the last year.
-Chris Lundy contributed to this story.