Another tale of school bathrooms
Not too long ago I wrote about how some bathrooms at Montgomery Blair High School--one of the premier institutions in Montgomery County Public Schools, itself a leading school district--had to be closed during lunch because there wasn’t enough staff to keep them from being vandalized.
Now we find that the bathrooms at the county’s Whitman High School--as good as a high schools gets--are also, in the words of a young journalist at the school’s student newspaper, black&white, “downright disgraceful.”
According to a recent story by writer Rachel Nussbaum, the problems are that the faucets barely work, the mirrors are metal, and it is hard to find a paper towel.
Here’s how it starts:
“Imagine the worst place you’ve ever been. Worse than the Bethesda tunnel. Worse than the Express line at Safeway when someone has 20 items. More along the lines of the Chokey in 'Matilda,' the movie. Damp, dark and full of pointy objects. In other words, Whitman’s bathrooms.
“Alright, so maybe that’s a bit of a hyperbole, but it’s pretty close to the truth. Whitman’s bathrooms have become downright disgraceful. In fact, the entire bathroom situation screams of stupidity.”
Reality check: These aren’t the worst problems I’ve heard about school bathrooms--after all, some schools have bathrooms in which the toilets don’t work and kids have to wait until they leave school to relieve themselves. Now THAT’s a problem.
Years ago I wrote a story for The Post (with my colleague Debbi Wilgoren) about a boy whose wheelchair couldn’t get over a bump in the doorway of the bathroom in a D.C. public school and he had to crawl to the toilet because he couldn’t walk. There was no bar in the stall to help him pull himself up--as required by law--so he took a lot of time. Sometimes he’d be late to class and get in trouble.
Now THAT’s a bathroom nightmare. (A federal judge finally ordered the school system to fix the problem.)
Still, the story in the Whitman paper makes me wonder what’s going on in such a fine school system.
Is anybody in a public school happy with the state of their bathrooms? And if the bathrooms are a mess, whose fault is it? Are the adults not maintaining them, or are the kids wrecking them, or both?
What’s going on with the bathrooms?
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| February 5, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories: Health, Montgomery County Public Schools, Student Life | Tags: Montgomery County Public Schools, school bathrooms
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