PHOTO: After an incident in the C-wing mens’ bathroom in early November, the school administration has put several new regulations into action, including keeping several bathroom doors open during school hours.
By Renee Xiang,
Following a vape-caused fire in the C-wing men’s bathroom, the school administration has enacted a number of reforms regarding bathroom policies, including keeping several bathroom doors locked open during school hours. However, despite the importance of bathroom monitoring to manage misbehavior, students should still be entitled to their right to privacy, which means keeping all school bathroom doors closed.
First and foremost, bathrooms should be a place where students can have complete privacy.
Many schools are able get around this issue by building the facilities so that students must walk around a corner before getting to the stalls, much like an airport restroom. This allows school faculty to have the door open– or in some cases, completely remove the door –while students still have their privacy protected with something directly obstructing the view of the stalls from the outside.
DHS, however, does not have this same barrier consistently installed in every bathroom. For instance, the interior of the boy’s bathroom at the base of the L-wing can be seen from several different angles with the door open, which can feel invasive.
Ideally, students should not feel like they may be watched or intruded upon when in the bathroom. While this does mean these spaces become the number one spot on campus for students to violate school rules, there are other effective ways to combat misconduct.
The biggest problem the school faces with bathroom delinquency is students’ use of e-cigarettes, or vapes. DHS and the Davis Joint Unified School District have already taken commendable steps towards addressing the current e-cigarette epidemic by filing a lawsuit against JUUL Labs, Inc., a major producer of vapes and e-cigarettes.
An official statement released by the DJUSD on Jan. 24 reads, “The lawsuit seeks injunction and abatement to stop the e-cigarette epidemic, which has severely impacted the District by interfering with normal school operations. The District also seeks compensatory damages to provide relief from the District’s financial losses as a result of […] enforcement actions such as staff to monitor the school’s property in an effort to combat the e-cigarette crisis.”
In addition to this, there are several other measures which the school could take to further regulate vaping in bathrooms, including installing smoke alarms to replace the current heat sensors in each bathroom and working to educate students on the dangers of e-cigarettes.
Preventative courses of action such as these would work to address the root of such a prevalent issue, rather than putting in place punitive policies that try and catch students in the act.
Of course, this does not mean that administrative staff should just leave bathrooms completely unmonitored during the school day, but when a staff member wants to check in on a bathroom, they can simply open the door. This way, both student privacy and wellbeing are protected.