Editorial: A Trip to the Restroom

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

Daina Cleveland, Staff Writer

*The views and opinions expressed in the following piece are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Nest or Albany High School.*

You would think we have stepped back into the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 when stepping into a bathroom at Albany High. Frequently, bathrooms fail to have toilet paper, paper towels, or even access to feminine hygiene products. It is nearly impossible to find an unlocked bathroom at times of emergency. Is this a staffing issue? A problem with supply and demand? Or a combination of both?

Within the first month of school the bathrooms of Albany high were locked during class times and class changes. While the intent was to limit the amount of students lingering in the bathroom, this rule has posed a difficulty for students who would simply like to go to the bathroom on their own terms. Throughout November it was nearly impossible to find a hall monitor to unlock the bathrooms. There were numerous times when myself and my peers waited to go until the 6th period where we knew our teacher would have a key to open the bathroom door. At this point getting into a bathroom in a timely manner has become a quest and the situation only gets worse once you are inside.

On an unfortunate day, I stepped into a bathroom stall to find no toilet paper. After checking every stall in the bathroom there was no toilet paper in sight anywhere. I went across the hall to the nurses office and hoped she would have some to spare. Thankfully she was able to find a small amount for myself and the other girls in the bathroom to use. Assuming it was a one time issue we went back to class however the next day the same issue ensued. It’s not just one bathroom either: bathrooms on all floors, both boys and girls, as well as staff bathrooms have been reported to have no toilet paper. It has become necessary to check each and every stall before even being able to use the bathroom.

Since the beginning of the school year, paper towels are rarely in the dispensers. While hand driers are an option, they are not very sanitary. ¨Those hand dryers in public restrooms are actually ‘Bacteria Bombs.’ Researchers conclude that hot-air dryers blow all sorts of germs back onto your hands. According to Healthline.com, the bacteria isn’t necessarily dangerous, but paper towels are a better way to dry off. Paper towels, like toilet paper, are a necessity for most bathrooms and the availability of either should not be limited. 

There is also limited availability of feminine hygiene products in the bathrooms. While the materials needed are available at the nurses office, it would be more useful if the dispensers in the bathrooms were stocked with the necessary supplies. Someone menstruating should not have to worry about running to the nurse to get a product they need nor should they have to worry about the availability of these products should they not have their own when the time comes. It would be nice to see a basket with products such as pads, panty liners, and tampons available for students in the bathrooms where it is most needed. 

Fully stocked bathrooms are important. They should always be available for those who need to use them and no student or staff member should ever have to worry about a lack of basic supplies when entering one.