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Chaining bathroom doors open: Who’s idea was this?
Apr 28, 2023
To stop kids from misbehaving in the bathrooms, the administration has started chaining bathroom doors open. Right now, only the theater and courtyard bathrooms have chains on them, but that may change. Admin is likely at their wit’s end trying to prevent students from smoking, skipping class, bullying each other and doing who-knows-what-else in the bathrooms, but this chain thing is not the solution.
The chains are the worst, and nobody likes them. Because the courtyard and theater bathrooms are outside, chaining their doors open lets all the cold air in. The courtyard bathrooms have the most stalls, so chaining them open forces students between waiting in a long line to use one of the warmer, but smaller bathrooms, or the larger, colder ones.
“It’s a pick-your-poison type of situation,” said senior Penny Luang* (she/they).
Students wrote a letter to campus supervisor Sarah Beeson (she/her) complaining about the temperature in the bathrooms.
“Dear Mrs. Beeson, we have respect for you but could you have the same for us? Like it’s so cold we literally can’t even sit to pee. Can we like pls keep it closed or at least a heater on or sum. Pls? Thank you,” reads the letter.
Kids are miserable in those ice-cold bathrooms because of the chains, and for what? It’s understandable that the security team has turned to measures as extreme as chains to stop students from smoking in the bathrooms, but is this extreme measure even effective? Teenagers are crafty little creatures. There are probably a dozen ways to get away with smoking, bullying and hanging out in the bathrooms, chains and all. It’s probably easy to wave smoke away with your hand or exhale away from the door, and it’s even easier to be quiet when you’re spending time in the bathroom with pals or picking on another student, so adults can’t hear from outside.
“I’m gonna vape in the bathroom no matter what, so you might as well let me vape in a warm bathroom,” said senior Sean Cadogan* (he/him).
Sure, there may be a few cases in which an adult caught something going on in the bathrooms because the doors were chained open. However, for every student who doesn’t know how to keep a low profile when they’re up to no good in the bathrooms, ten more students do. If a student does manage to get caught misbehaving in the bathrooms, they can just use it as a learning opportunity and make sure to be a little sneakier next time.
“There was this time once where I was vaping just a little in the bathrooms, and you know me, I was sloppy and I did almost get caught. That was like a bit of a ‘whoopsie daisy’ for me, but I haven’t let it happen again,” said junior Henry Braun* (he/him).
Admin has been playing around with a few tactics to keep the doors to the inside bathrooms open as well. Admin can’t just chain the inside bathrooms open since there isn’t anything close to the doors that could support the chains. Because of this, admin has been propping the indoor bathrooms open with door stoppers.
Naturally, students have been taking the door stoppers out, so admin has put up signs telling them to knock it off. These signs, just like the chains, are pretty much useless. If students are rebellious enough to smoke in the bathrooms, they’re probably capable of ignoring a sign. If I were a student who wanted to close a bathroom door, a sign wouldn’t stop me.
But wait: students will face consequences if they disobey the signs. As the signs say, closing bathroom doors will earn you a detention.
At first glance, this seems like it could actually prevent kids from closing the bathroom doors. Ideally, people are less likely to do things if they know they’ll be punished. But to be punished for something, you have to be caught. I’m pretty sure students can close a door softly enough that a faculty member won’t notice.
“Like, ‘Oh, don’t close our door, bro.’ Dude, I’m going to close that door just because you asked me not to,” said Cadogan.
Besides the fact that they don’t work, the signs are an annoyance because they stink up the school. Keeping the doors to the bathrooms in the lunchroom and Sherwood’s Forest open lets all the smelly air out into the surrounding areas.
“I eat my lunch in Sherwood’s Forest and I use the Sheerwood’s Forest bathrooms too. I poop where I eat, straight up,” said Braun.
So, signs don’t work. Chains don’t work. Then what does? Likely nothing. The administration could strip the bathroom doors off their hinges, and kids would come to school the next day with a new door they found at the junkyard and a screwdriver.
While chains and signs may be ineffective at preventing and catching bathroom misconduct, a real solution likely doesn’t exist. It’s difficult to argue that admin should just give up trying to get students to behave, but trying to find a solution to this likely unsolvable problem is a waste of their extremely limited time and resources.
*Names changed for anonymity.