Talon Investigates: Bathroom Closures

Mysterious circumstances are surrounding the subject of bathrooms closing at East Lake without warning, one period open, one period closed.

Picture+of+a+bathroom+closed+at+East+Lake%0APhoto+cred%3A+Kevin+Madley%0A

Picture of a bathroom closed at East Lake Photo cred: Kevin Madley

Brock Maloy, Ads Manager

Smelly, scarce, and closed, East Lake bathrooms that are open are becoming far and between. Once a school lush with bathrooms, the facilities are now closing everywhere. People looking to relieve themselves in between class find themselves strolling in late to class and racking up the tardies.  On some days one bathroom is open throughout the entire school while the rest have “out of order” signs posted on the doors. Starting this school year, they cut the passing time from six minutes to five minutes, newly instated tardy sweeps, and also have added 700 incoming freshmen. It all comes together to be a perfect storm. Any other year the bathroom closures would be a minor issue but with these factors is delivers devastating results. Now on this special edition of the Talon we investigate the mysterious circumstances behind the bathroom closures across the Lake and if the rise of the vaping epidemic and the closures are connected. We will hear from other students and teachers’ testimonies on what is going on.

Around the halls and in the classrooms, you can hear it, the rumbling of disgruntled students across campus wondering what in the heck is going on with their bathrooms. One child at East Lake that I had the luxury to sit down with was Sean Cunningham aka “Scunni.” He is our very own features editor and playing thee Shrek in April during East Lake’s presentation of Shrek: The Musical. He is arguably one of the most reputable students at the Lake. Even he, however, cannot steer clear of the bathroom troubles. When asked if he has ever had issues using the restroom, he said, “Yeah man it gets frustrating sometimes and I just cannot, for the life of me find a bathroom.”  This tends to be a common concern about the restrooms. Next, he was asked if he ever encounters vapors in the bathroom. Sean answered with “You know what it seems like they are everywhere in there; all I want to do is take a waz but these kids and their nicotine devices clog up the bathrooms, and when only one bathroom is open they congregate in one spot making the bathrooms unusable.” And to his point, if you are using the restroom while someone is vaping and an administrator walks in, they will take everybody to the office to be searched. The biggest problem is that the closures can prevent you from getting to class on time, doesn’t help that administration is putting more pressure on staff to crack down on tardies. When asked if he was ever tardy to class, he said “Not frequently, but on days when only one bathroom is open it gets really close, especially if my class is in upstairs building two and the only one open is the cafeteria restroom.”

Originally, I was under the impression that the closures had a hint of sexism. It seemed that only the boys’ rooms were affected by the situation. However, after receiving credible testimony from the female staff writers of the Talon, I learned that the problem was deeper than that. Testimonies from the women were frightening, they were asked about the presence of vapors in the bathroom and they said that “We definitely see a large amount of vapers in the bathroom.” “I’d imagine the same amount as the boys’ room.” one girl said. Then I was confused on how, if vapers are in the girls’ rooms too then how are their bathrooms not closed. That’s when I was informed by fellow staff writer Calena Lopez that “our bathrooms are closed too.” This was shocking too me, bittersweet, great to know that there was no discrimination but upset that they too were being mistreated.

At this point it seemed that the bathrooms were obviously not out of order due to the “out of order signs” permanently taped to the door and being opened the next day. Although one day in Economics class with Mrs. Miklos, she informed the class about what was going down inside the bathrooms. She told us that “due to exposable vapes becoming prevalent around schools, you kids prefer to flush them down the toilet, at least once a week they get clogged in the toilet.” Finally, the truth came out, it all makes sense too, vapes are found in the urinals daily and plumbers are required to come in and fix it every week. All the conspiracies can be dropped, its our fault, as a student body we need to end the vaping epidemic and stop the flushing of vapes. We are lucky administration doesn’t close them down for good. Stay tuned for the next special edition of the Talon.