Tolerating underclassmen in the bathrooms


Raina Goss

The bathroom is not a sanitary place to hang out

I go to the bathroom once or twice during the school day. I bring my own water bottle to school now, and I end up drinking more water than I did before. This means I frequent our school bathrooms more than I used to, which also means I see the freshman and sophomore girls that flock to them like birds.
A lot of the time, I use the end of my lunch period to go to the bathroom because I don’t like to rush, but almost every time I walk into the bathroom at that time, there are at least eight girls standing around the sinks and just talking. I would care less about this if there weren’t so many, or if they weren’t constantly in the way, but I had to reach around a girl who wouldn’t move away from the sinks to wash my hands the other day. They’re generally inconsiderate and give me weird looks for needing to use the bathroom, like I’m the one impeding on their “hang out spot.”
One of the weirdest experiences I had was during the end of one of my lunch periods too. My friend and I went to the bathroom by the North doors, hoping it would be less crowded, but instead there were four or five freshman and sophomore girls sitting on the dirty bathroom floor around the door. We had to make an effort to step around them because they wouldn’t move and make room for us. One or two of them were eating pistachios on the bathroom floor!
Also, they have the gross habit of vaping in the bathroom. Our school officials claim to have vape sensors, but I’ve heard many stories from multiple people that the sensors go off when they’re the only one in there using the bathroom normally, but they fail to go off when students are actually in there vaping. I’ve also heard people say they see them vape in halls and classrooms. It’s a genuine problem.
Although I’m not a guy and I don’t use the boy bathrooms, I’ve also heard talk of freshman and sophomore boys congregating around the urinals to do the same thing.
Not only that, but there was a broken sink in the girls bathroom earlier this year. When I saw it, I wondered what could have happened, but I later learned that a girl was sitting in it and she broke it. Sinks aren’t for sitting in, and I feel like I’m talking to children when I say that. When a girl is sitting in the sink, you can’t use it. When a sink is broken, you can’t use it. When there are 10 girls gathered around the sink like a herd of sheep, you can’t use it.
The thing about it is that I really don’t understand what makes them want to do this when the commons are usually rather empty during some of these times. The library is open too, and you’re free to walk to the Holiday gas station just down the street. As a freshman, it never crossed my mind to hang out in the bathroom because why would I want to? It’s dirty and used for, well, going to the bathroom. It’s bizarre to me.
Now, what can the school do about this? Not once have I witnessed a faculty member come into the bathroom to shoo them out. The only time I’ve noticed them worried about people congregating there are bathroom parties – which is fair – but why don’t they have the same policy when a group of freshmen are huddled around the sinks, staring in the mirror at themselves, talking loudly, and giving you weird looks without making room for people using the bathroom?
From what I can tell, the only probable conclusions are that they don’t care or the vape sensors go off so much/when there’s no one in the bathroom to the point where they can’t possibly search everyone who were in the bathrooms during that time. That doesn’t stop them from talking to them, to tell them to go into the bathroom only when they need to use the bathroom, or suggest that they hang out in the commons, library, or literally anywhere else.
I’m not the only one who thinks so, either. I’ve heard conversations in classes and halls about the underclassmen who congregate in the bathrooms. “Anytime I go in there, there’s just like, 20 of them all huddled around all the sinks, and some of them even like, sitting in the sinks?” senior Olivia Lockwood said, “I feel like everytime I’m in there, the vape sensors are going off for some reason.”
I mostly hear these talks in my senior classrooms, live Economics, Government, and AP Literature, but I also hear buzz around Juniors and some Sophomores. To almost every person who uses the restroom who’s mature about these things, these freshmen that congregate are annoying and, frankly, weird. But, sadly, they’re like the students who stand in the middle of the halls: Unaware, uncaring, and rather selfish.