Occupied! The Truth About Lakeland’s Bathroom Closures


V. Hennessy

For those of you who are unaware, there have been ongoing-problems with the boys’ bathrooms.

The situation started last year during the 2017-2018 school year, with the bathrooms being shut down for repairs until only one in each building was open. During this time, the boys had to wait on line, going to the bathroom one at a time, waiting for a  teacher to inspect the bathroom after student use.

Luckily, come the 2018-2019 school year, the bathrooms were up and running again. A relief for all who had suffered last year. However, the bathrooms were once again shut down earlier this school year with the same problems arising. By winter break, the school administrators were able to reopen the bathrooms and finally put an end to the problems.


The Problem

So, what exactly were the problems? The Lancer Ledger was able to sit down for an interview with Mrs. Rita Mazza, dean of students, to get the answers, some of which were disturbing.

V. Hennessy
Picture of closed 2018-2019 bathroom.

Many rumors about the boy’s bathrooms have been spread, but here is the truth. The blame goes to no particular person or action, but rather a series of ill-behavior. It all started with vandalism. The boys’ restrooms were often graffitied with vulgar language, drawings of penises, and other inappropriate designs sketched into the walls and stall doors.

That is only the beginning. Soon, students were relieving themselves onto the floor. Others took to destroying the toilet paper holders, ripping the gray cover off of the wall-mounted-holder before tossing the new and unused rolls into the toilet. A mirror in the boys’ bathroom was smashed, it’s frame ripped from the wall, before the perpetrator twisted the metal hook which holds the mirror into a sharp pole of metal sticking from the wall which posed a danger to students.

The worse, however, occurred this year. Putting the rumors to rest, right here, right now, nobody ripped a sink from the wall. The truth then? A student ripped the pipe connecting the water flow to the urinal loose. The result? A free surprise shower whenever people flushed.


The Effects

If it’s only a small handful of students doing this, why do events like this affect so much of the Lakeland population? Well, we’re all involved a lot more than you might think:

The first problem is that when the bathrooms are shut down, bathroom-crowding becomes an issue, with up to seven boys at a time in the bathroom. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it’s causes students to wait their turn, missing out on important class material.

Some students go and take longer than they expect, while others choose not to go at all because they know that they’ll miss more of class.”

— Michael Kelly, science teacher

More time spent in the bathroom and longer walks to get there is just the tip of the iceberg. The destruction of our school’s bathrooms is costing money. It’s costing YOU money! Every time the bathroom is vandalized, it’s extra money spent by the school to pay custodians to clean up the mess. Isn’t that their job though? No! Their job is to keep the bathrooms clean. It is not their job to actually clean up after us. Plus, the school had to hire a plumber to examine and fix the pipe.

Last year, it cost the school a fortune in order to pay for the bathroom monitors – the Lakeland staff members who had to sit at a desk outside the bathrooms. Where does this money all come from? Your parents’ tax money which supplies the school budget. While not coming directly from us – the students -the money in the school budget that is wasted on things of this nature is basically our money wasted. It’s money that could have been spent on the school and its students.

The money spent on the bathrooms could easily pay for paint, tiles, and other materials to make the school better. It could help out with new classes and clubs. But instead, it has been wasted by a few people, and now we’re all paying for it. Literally.


A Solution

It’s important that we, as the students of Lakeland, know what is going on, how it affects us, and how we can be a part of the solution. ”

The Lakeland Service Club, which is ran under the supervision of Mrs. Brenda Ferguson, a science teacher at LRHS, came forward to bring something positive to something so negative. Taking time off from their Saturday, students of the club actually came to Lakeland and painted the bathrooms upstairs in the old building. The Service Club gave up their day off of school to work on the bathrooms for over three hours at a time. Mrs. Ferguson shared with us:

“The intent was to do something nice for the school and the students. We wanted to put a positive spin on everything to try and make the school more welcoming for our hard working students.” 

To conclude, it’s important that we, as the students of Lakeland, know what is going on, how it affects us, and how we can be a part of the solution. To leave you with a quote Mrs. Mazza shared –  “Remember the three Rs: Respect yourself, respect others, and respect your school.” When you vandalize the school, you’re being disrespectful to everybody and even yourself. Please, help keep Lakeland clean. Not for the school’s sake, but for our sake and for yours.