Students struggle with bathroom closure



Barricades are seen just outside of the entrances to the P-Wing bathrooms. “Teachers are very busy and don’t often want to babysit kids using the restroom.” Dentler said.

There is no doubt that a common topic of conversation within the walls of GlenOak has contained one key word, ‘bathroom.’ The school has seen many new procedures regarding the restrooms, but the arguably most prominent has been the closure of the P-wing restrooms for the last year. 

Numerous students, specifically those within the performing arts programs, have expressed frustration with the bathrooms being closed. Senior Madison Dentler, a Level IV dancer has seen many difficulties arise from the P-Wing restrooms being unavailable because there is not enough staff to monitor bathroom behavior in this part of the school.

“When there is a large amount of dancers, it can be very inconvenient as there is only one bathroom in the locker room for all of us to share. In the past, we all had plenty of time to change and use the bathroom before practice when the restrooms were open,” Dentler said. 

Not only has the situation inconvenienced students, but performing arts teachers within the P-Wing have also seen an impact on their teaching, as well as the learning of their students.

 It would take seconds for students to get to the P-Wing bathroom from their classes within the wing, however, they now have to walk across the school to one of the other bathrooms. 

Strings teacher Daniel Nauss believes that there would be some positives to reopening the restrooms.

Arts students would have a restroom that is closer.  They wouldn’t have to travel long distances for a restroom break, and would therefore miss less instructional time,” Nauss said. 

On the other hand, Nauss also understands the reasoning behind closing the restrooms, and sees very little issue with the bathrooms being closed. 

There are not enough staff members during the day to supervise the area. Additionally, the closing the restrooms during the school day makes it easier to keep them clean and stocked for after-school or weekend events, such as performances in the auditorium or some sporting events.

As we have seen in the past, the P wing restrooms were viewed as an “outpost” for students to go to.  There was less consistent supervision, so students ended up getting into trouble there all too often,” Nauss said. 

Some students have also reflected on the negative circumstances that caused the restroom to close, and are understanding. Still, they hope to see the restrooms reopened in the future, as it would be more convenient for arts students, and they would be missing less class time when using the restroom.

Some students have multiple arts classes in a day and I do think it’s only fair to those kids that they have ample access to the restroom. Clearly those restrooms were put there for a reason,” Dentler said. 

  With only 3 full months left of the school year, arts students have gotten somewhat used to walking to restrooms that are open, and the restrooms are significantly cleaner and in a closer location than other restrooms throughout the school when it comes to special events.

“Restrooms may be closed for any number of reasons. We have had some maintenance issues in the past that required plumbing or construction to be done. Sometimes we have large groups of guests from other districts and need to use a restroom for them or the restrooms are designated for community events like the ones by the theater. Other times we are monitoring appropriate restroom behavior,” Principal Gayle Kimbrough said. 

Kimbrough remarks that there are no future plans to reopen the restrooms at this time. Although she acknowledges that it may be inconvenient for some, restroom behavior is still a problem within the school. It seems that the chances of the restrooms reopening this school year are slim.