By: Caroline Franklin
High School bathrooms are often a place that sets fear in the very heart of students. At Milton High School, it is no different from the rest of the world. With a severe lack of janitorial staff, it seems impossible for Milton to get it together. Colleen Williams, the Sophomore Class President said it herself, “We are extremely short on janitors, we are short about 6-10 janitors, and that sets us behind so much more and puts more work on the other janitors.” However, in planning budgets for schools (especially at Milton, where the enrollment is 2,000 plus,) it can be assumed that the administrators account for the fact that they will need more janitors than a typical school does. One would think the school board would also budget for things like soap, paper towels, and toilet paper.
All through last year at Milton, students would walk out of the bathroom with sopping wet hands, others would dry their hands with the very limited toilet paper the school provides, since the hand dryers are at least ten years old, and very faulty. Some of the time, the most students can do to cleanse their hands is run water over them, in sinks full of other student’s hair and other questionable substances. Not to mention, about one half of all of the bathroom stall doors at our school do not close. This causes students to feel unsafe, whereas using the bathroom should be a perfectly easy, mundane thing to do. Students do not think that accessibility is the case in the bathrooms, though. When asked about the state of the bathrooms, Paulina Osenenko, a junior, said; “I think the bathrooms at Milton can be very disturbing sometimes. People do not flush the toilet, many doors do not lock, and we don’t even get paper towels. The fact that many doors don’t lock, and they go for multiple months like that is ridiculous and disrespectful. Students should feel comfortable in the bathroom and it is rather inappropriate for many of the bathroom doors to be in the state they are in.”
Administration explicitly said to Colleen Williams that there are three reasons they chose not to supply hand towels for students. The first is that students flush paper towels down the toilet, the second describes that they cannot afford paper towels, and the third is that (again) the school is extremely short on janitors. The risk this issue poses is detrimental. According to the Arizona Health Department, just a few of the diseases that dirty hands spread include Hepatitis A, E-Coli, Strep Throat, among others. Bathroom surfaces are covered in all kinds of filth, usually other bodily fluids, etc. Students have tried to protest on this issue, only to be told that there is no funding for the necessities in the bathrooms. Since there is no law that makes it mandatory for schools to provide soap, towels, or working hand dryers, they can say that. All us students want is a reliable to way to wash our hands, really.