Bathshrooms: The Ballad of the Portable Portobellos

Max Boyd and Jack Wisialowski

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An image of the mushrooms discovered in the Hall High portables' bathroom.

Fact: Most people don’t put too much thought into their bathroom experiences. But lately, bathroom impressions have been of higher priority at Hall High School. On October 1, tragedy struck, as mushrooms were found in the men’s portable bathroom by inquisitive young student athlete, Matt Keeley. It was a brisk Monday morning when Keeley, “Asked to go to the bathroom in physics class, walked in to the bathroom, went to the urinal, and looked down to [the] left – and boom, mushrooms [were] right on the ground poppin’ out of the tile.”  This came as a shock to the young man, finding a fungus in a school bathroom.

             Keeley stated that he immediately told authorities, “I sent the video I took [of the mushrooms] to some friends because I thought it’d be funny. I think along the lines the authorities may have found out. I did tell Mr. Burtness…”  Mr. Burtness is an esteemed physics teacher at Hall High School, with a reputation of being reliable and cool under pressure in times of sorrow such as these. In the following days the news of mushrooms growing in the bathroom at Hall High school spread fast, and it lead to a brief article written by the Hartford Courant explaining the issue and how the bathrooms were being closed for a few repairs. This caused further aggravation from students like Keeley since the next bathroom is located “All the way across the cafeteria, it takes like 10 minutes, can’t use the bathroom during a test anymore.” He explains, shaking his head, “It’s a troop, it’s a hike.”

 

             Are a few little mushrooms really “reason for all the commotion in the portables?” We asked our respected principal Mr. Daniel Zittoun for the answer to that question. He replied, “It’s a good day in the world when mushrooms in a high school bathroom can make the news.  Honestly, I wonder which would spread faster… mushrooms in a bathroom, or the story about it.” Mr. Zittoun explained that his initial reaction to the reports of fungi in the bathrooms was “Shock and disbelief.” He could not believe that this type of thing could happen at Hall because “Our janitorial staff always do such a good job keeping the school and the bathroom clean, you know?”  

 

             Yes, we do know, and so does Mr. Joe Bernard, the head custodian at Hall.  When we brought the student’s first impressions and assumptions to him, he thought it was important to set the record straight. “When there is too much moisture, a mushroom will grow.”  This aligns with what we learned from the Courant’s article, “The portable structure is open underneath and the rain and humidity over the last month created an environment for mushroom growth.”  Bernard went on to say that, “It’s not a matter of if it wasn’t clean or anything like that, it’s just that there was too much moisture on the plywood.” The experts informed us that our interpretations of the situation were inaccurate: Hall is as clean as can be.  Earth Science and Marine Biology teacher Anthony Wasley further affirmed this, stating that, “There was not black mold or mildew… It was probably started by a spore transported on someone’s shoe sole.” He even went as far as to say that, “You could hang out with those mushrooms all day and nothing would happen to you.”  Moreover, student expert Mitchell Palczewski concurred when we asked him about the conundrum. He said that “ I don’t think it’s that big a’ deal, you’ve just gotta, you know, ignore them.” Ignoring the mushrooms may not be the best option for solving this moisture issue, so then what is?

        This question tore us apart, and shook us to our cores.  However, our guardian angel Joe Bernard once again informed us that the custodial staff has “Ripped out the whole flooring,… put a brand new floor in… Insulated the walls… [and] All the toilets were repaired.” This explains why it has been closed for the past few weeks, and will solve the issue of Hall’s ‘Bathshrooms’.

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