For years now, schools have been built with the idea that we as students would be productive and work efficient. Although at times this thought comes to fruition, its difficult to believe that the place where our students handle the most business is simply unappealing, due to the unhygienic and messy aura of our bathrooms. Bathrooms have been an ongoing issue for millenia. Although many schools believe their bathrooms are satisfactory in the context of sanitation, the majority of students disagree and believe our restrooms are not only unhealthy and unsanitary, but also disorderly. We believe this needs to change. It’s time we improve our area of business, it's time we improve our bathrooms.
Although there are seemingly countless problems with public bathrooms in general, one of the biggest issues surrounding boys restrooms; at Elsik High School is the lack of privacy. Currently on main campus, there are a total of 26 boys restrooms throughout the building, however out of these 26 bathrooms, 13 do not have stalls separating the toilets or urinals. “It makes me uncomfortable” says Jerry Rivera, a student attending Elsik. Privacy is important, it doesn't matter who you are. We all need privacy in our lives. More importantly, we specifically need privacy within the bathrooms of our schools. When we don't have privacy in our bathrooms, students are exposed to many risks. Students describe that the lack of privacy provides them with the feeling of humiliation. But this isn't the only issue with bathrooms in our schools.
If our bathrooms went to the doctor for their yearly check up, they would be told numerous wrongs, like “You’re too messy” or “Have you been showering daily?” Unfortunately for us students, we must bear the smell of our own business within our bathroom walls, whilst also dealing with other sanitary issues. Sanitation is a key component to the lives of children, it not only affects how we feel, but also how we learn. In the words of Lauren Newman, a journalist for EagleEye News, some of these sanitary hazards include lack of ventilation, toilet paper, soap and sometimes even urine and toilet water on the floor. Furthermore, a study conducted by Ms. Newman found that 67% of students purposely avoid using school bathrooms and would rather wait till they got home. This simply means that bathrooms are far too unsanitary for students to use. Okay, so we know that bathrooms are unhealthy, but the question is how? Bathrooms vary from toilet to toilet, in our school it's quite common to find toilet paper or paper towels all over the bathroom floor. Furthermore, arguably the most unhygienic factor of our bathrooms are our toilets. The toilets are almost always covered with urine, incentivising students to just hold it in. Not only that, but the “0” shape of the toilets increase the risk of backsplash when sitting down, and increases the chances of your privates resting where someone elses privates have been. Lets face it; bathrooms are pretty disgusting, however there is a solution to this “messy” situation.
Whether it’s paper towels on the floor or urine on the toilet seats, there is a solution to virtually all these problems. In an article published by Simon Lockrey, a professor from RMIT University, Lockrey describes hand dryers as not only much more sanitary, but also better for the environment. In fact, hand dryers have proven to be up to 126% more sanitary contrary to paper towels, making air drying the far more beneficial alternative. One of the more obvious advantages of air drying is its aid to the environment. When we use hand dryers, it eliminates the need for paper towels, making paper towels a thing of the past. However let’s not forget about the unhygienic aura of our toilets. The question you’re probably asking right now is “how can toilets be accounted for?” and although it seems complicated, the answer is a lot more clear than it seems. Now that we’ve recognized that the “0” shape in toilet lids cause numerous problems, the more sanitary alternative would be a “U” shape. The “U” shape eliminates the problems we previously encountered such as backsplash and putting your privates where someone else’s has been.
At the end of the day, bathrooms are still bathrooms, they’ll always be just a tad bit unsanitary, but recently we’ve seen this problem expand until it’s practically become a crisis. Today we advocate to stop this, and we advocate for more funding towards our bathrooms.