Bathroom Closings: Do They Really Work?

Students at Hall High School are struggling to get permission to use the bathroom during class, as teachers deny their requests over concerns of misconduct. Some students are left with no choice but to hold it in, prompting questions about how the school will address this issue.

The situation at our school is becoming increasingly concerning for students who are being denied the basic need of using the bathroom during class. This has left many students feeling uncomfortable and anxious. However, teachers say that they believe students are using bathroom breaks as an excuse to get out of class or to engage in unwanted behavior causing the bathrooms to be locked. As a result, students have resorted to holding in their urine for extended periods of time or even using unsafe alternatives, such as drinking less water. This situation has led to frustration among the student body and raised questions about the school’s responsibility to provide basic health and safety needs to its students. At the moment, the school administration has left many wondering how this issue will be resolved because no resolution has been mentioned. 


To try to avoid closing the bathrooms, Hall security guards have been monitoring the bathrooms in an effort to stop any attempts to smoke or vape. When Hall security guard Jose Rivera was asked if any alternative measures were taken in an attempt to stop smoking and vaping in bathrooms, he stated that “Other than monitoring cameras to try to gauge as to when it’s happening, you don’t know what people are doing in bathrooms because it’s a private area.” This is why schools across the country are starting to reduce the amount of time students spend during their bathroom brakes to avoid misconduct when kids are not watched. 


Furthermore, when Dr. Boucher was asked about whether or not he always wants his students to use the bathrooms he said “Never, the most I’ll ever ask a kid to do is wait. But I never say no.” Here is a simple and effective way that both students and teachers can converse and comply. As a matter of fact, the 2023 class president Ryan Zydanowicz has never had a situation where he was told by a teacher that he cannot use the bathroom and when he was asked that question he replied with a simple answer, “No”. Additionally, according to Geisinger, a health and wellness institution, mentioned, “Unless you have a medical condition that causes you more frequent bathroom breaks than normal, it is not illegal.” Therefore, students are allowed to use th

e bathrooms when denied to do so if they “have a medical condition” but if they are denied without having such illness then it is completely legal. 


Even though there lies a clear issue with smoking and vaping in the bathroom, Hall has not done much to aid those with vaping and smoking addictions. When Hall security guard Jose Rivera was asked if there are plans to provide smoking resources for students who are addicted instead of just locking the bathrooms, he said,”No, we wouldn’t because it’s illegal for students of high school age to smoke anyway, and it’s a health risk; I don’t think the board of education would ever sanction that.” Also, as a student, Ryan Zydanowicz has experienced trouble with the locking of the bathrooms because when he was asked if the locked bathrooms ever caused an issue for him, he said “Sometimes I do the tinkle dance and I get to the bathroom and it is locked. How am I supposed to use the bathroom? The bathrooms should be open for all unless they are known culprits of being suspicious in bathrooms.” Moreover, there can be negative health effects if you hold your excreta for too long. According to Geisinger, “Holding your urine for too long can weaken the bladder muscles over time. This can lead to problems such as incontinence and not being able to fully empty your bladder. Holding your urine for extremely long periods of time can also cause urinary tract infections due to bacteria build-up”. Here we can see that the effects of holding in your bladder can cause serious harm. With no treatment, urinary tract infection can spread to the kidneys causing even more harm. According to Sepsis Alliance, “Untreated urinary tract infections may spread to the kidney, causing more pain and illness. It can also cause sepsis. The term urosepsis describes sepsis caused by a UTI.” This would be rare if you were to hold your bladder for one school period but if it happens persistently, then you are much more likely to get a UTI. 

Many people have issues with the suspicious actions as well as the bathrooms being closed as a consequence. Other than locking the bathrooms and sending students that are caught doing illegal things in the bathroom to an anti-drug and alcohol program, there isn’t much of a solution to the bathroom situation. “I do understand that under certain circumstances, we can say no and we’re certainly supposed to track how long they are gone. Because, some kids take forever, every single day, and it’s school avoidance,” Dr. Boucher said. Many teachers need to talk with their students and have this conversation about avoiding class by asking to use the bathroom. When students are out of class and trying to avoid class, the rate of illegal activities in the bathrooms increase. By monitoring students that spend lots of time out of class when asking to use the bathroom, we as a community can decrease the amount of illegal activities that occur during school.