Government must create School Bathroom Laws
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Going to the bathroom is a basic human need. Unfortunately many students cannot bring themselves to act upon this need for over 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, due to the disgraceful state of their toilet facilities. There must be laws put in place ensuring students can go to clean, accessible, fully stocked bathrooms in schools.
School toilets have little regulations. The only regulations set by law from the Department for Education is that there must be separate facilities for boys and girls, the bathrooms must be accessible for pupils, they must contain washing facilities and adequate lighting and ventilation. There must also be disabled facilities.
Although there are government guidelines on how to maintain the toilets, the harsh reality of many school bathrooms is shocking - and much worse in Secondary Schools.
From experience, bathrooms rarely contain working locks. Makeshift sanitary bin door stoppers are used, or friends come to hold it closed for you. Sometimes there are no flushing toilets, no working taps, no soap, no toilet seats. There is graffiti all over the walls, dirty floors, and facilities that have not been updated in decades. There is barely enough toilet paper, and the cleanliness of the bathrooms overall are appalling. If you were to walk into a public bathroom in the state of school bathrooms, you would be shocked. But for many, this is normal and accepted.
Bathrooms are sometimes locked during lessons to prevent truancy - but in some schools the bathrooms are even locked at breaks so that students cannot vandalise the toilets. This means others cannot simply go without permission and a key from a member of staff - when this is the only time when students can go to the bathroom! Why do students need to ask to complete a basic human need?
Girls on their periods cannot go comfortably to the bathroom during the day. A lack of toilet paper means it is virtually impossible to change sanitary items in a clean and respectable manner. It is potentially dangerous when girls cannot change a tampon due to restricted toilet access, or lack of decent facilities. Girls on particularly heavy periods suffer the most, as they require frequent toilet visits just to stay clean and fresh. When toilets are shut, this makes it very difficult.
No student should have to worry about bringing in spare tissues to go to the toilet, or to have to take a friend each time to hold their stall door shut, or to trope around school looking for a decent, open toilet in their breaks and lunches.
We need following laws to be put in place, mandatory for all school bathrooms:
- Working locks for every stall
- Soap in every bathroom
- Working taps
- Toilet paper in every stall, or otherwise easily accessible
- Adequate number of sanitary bins per bathroom
- Toilets must be in working order (have seats, can flush)
- Adequate cleanliness
- Bathrooms must be open to students during all breaks
The Department for Education must introduce laws on school toilets, especially for Secondary Schools. Guidelines are simply not enough. Every student, every person, has a right for decent, working bathrooms.
Thank you for reading this, please support this cause in any way you can and share it with your parents, family, friends and teachers. Everything counts.
Erin Q - Year 11 pupil
A petition for The Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP & The Minister of State for School Standards, The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP.
This petition in no way states all school bathrooms are in these conditions, but that there must be laws to ensure all schools provide the quality students deserve.
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