The state of student bathrooms at American are an astounding feat of the students and administration of American High – SATIRE

Vaishnavi Kurupath

Staff Writer

     “To flush, or not to flush” is the most pressing question of our time. The bathrooms at American High have been spotlighted for their notoriously questionable conditions. However, these complaints are absurd. The “chaos” created in student bathrooms is not detrimental, but rather valuable to the American High community. Student bathrooms have become community centers, where groups of students can befriend each other and sing “Kumbaya.” They are safe havens for students to relieve themselves, release aggression by fighting each other, or indulge in their creative sides with graffiti. In fact, students can even multitask, as they can bond with each other at the urinals which conveniently have no dividers. 

     Senior Deeta Ganapathy fondly remembers her first experience at a bathroom in American High. “I took a daring risk and decided to step out of my comfort zone and walk into the locker room bathroom. I walked inside and, in front of me, a huge wad of toilet paper fell down onto the ground. I was confused. No one else was in the bathroom. So I was like, ‘Where did this come from?’” she recounts.

      “And then I realized that the entire ceiling was covered with toilet paper. Just ready to fall down at random intervals.” American High’s very own “Pisstine Chapel” can be found in the girl’s P.E. bathrooms. the falling masses making the exhibit interactive.

     Other than the fine art featured in the girls’ P.E. bathroom, girls’ bathrooms all over the school have provided incredible benefits in the last couple of years. “The last time I went to the restroom in the 300 wing, the toilet was spinning really fast, and the water was flying everywhere,” remembers junior Sruti Ginka. Non-functioning toilets like these make for engaging experiences, keeping students on their toes and strengthening their reflexes. Another senior adds that the girls’ bathrooms “have super thin paper.  It’s like one ply, just one ply.” Frequently broken toilet paper dispensers prevent users from accessing the toilet paper. This encourages students to find creative ways to clean their privates.

     It is not only the individuals who utilize the designated girls’ bathrooms at the school that benefit from the superb organization and functioning of these facilities. In fact, the boys’ bathrooms boast an even better reputation. 

     “One time, I walked into the bathroom and just saw milk on the wall. It was straight up chocolate milk that was poured all over the wall,” says senior Jeeva Srinivasan. Instead of waiting in the never-ending brunch line, students can easily access school lunch and brunch items within the boys’ bathrooms.

      For those concerned about hygiene or whatnot, it really does not depend on where the chocolate milk is consumed. Eighteen grams of sugar, or a whopping 72% of the recommended sugar intake for teenagers, is being chugged down in one carton. There is clearly a larger elephant in the room. 

     Other than the buffets provided in the boys’ bathrooms, the facilities also host social events, such as gladiator fighting. “There’s been like two fights in the bathroom this year,” says Srinivasan. “You’ll do your thing, and there can be two people fighting behind you. They had to call the supervisor to break up the fighting a couple of times.” As there are no weapons allowed, the combat allows students to release aggression and stress onto other unsuspecting students in a safe space. Tickets for these fights can be purchased on the Eagle Outfitters website for $10 with ASB and $437 without ASB.

     It is natural to wonder who is behind the state of the student bathrooms, but it is certain that the custodial staff at American High are not responsible for this. Custodian Denise Silva points to understaffing as the cause of the variety of new features in bathrooms.

     “[Some common problems] are broken toilet paper holders; or there’s a crack or graffiti. Those can be fixed easily, maybe a 10 minute job,” she says. “The thing is, while you’re walking over to get the item,  people almost always stop you. ‘Oh, can you help me with this?’ ‘And can you do that?’ That’s kind of what happens because we’re short-staffed.”

     Regardless of custodians’ outspokenness, understaffing remains a concern. “I talked to an administrator who just told me recently that she had 16 people [applying for a job on the custodial staff], and [almost all] of the 16 moved up,” says Silva. “She said that they either went for different jobs, or they quit quickly. I was completely shocked. So the jobs are there. It’s just the people who want to work in them.” 

     Suggestions have been presented to administration to address the staffing predicament. While encouraging students and faculty to demonstrate more respect to the duties and position of the custodian is not a feasible solution, bribery and/or kidnapping are two options the administration could explore. In fact, the administration can combine the two and consider kidnapping with ransom, making hostages clean the 700 wing bathrooms while they wait to be rescued and using the ransom money to buy more paper to print the significant “FLEX Absence Notices”. Incredibly important to American High’s culture, these notices are clearly the foundation for our school’s functioning, and that is why they are taken incredibly seriously by the student body.

     So, if the custodians are not to blame, who is the superhero we can thank for the state of our bathrooms? A freshman chimes in, claiming a multitude of reasons. “I don’t think that it is only because the students do not respect the place,” she says. “It can be a mix of both student attitudes and the role of the administration combined.” Other people feel that there is no clear reason, but the state of student bathrooms needs to be brought to a larger audience’s attention to see any progress. “Someone has to say something about it, like get the ball rolling,” says Silva.

    Regardless of dissent in student opinions, restroom sanitation is more important to our school than many may think. “As a freshman, I haven’t gone to the bathroom as much. I heard so many things about the bathroom just being nasty in general,” says the freshman. “When I have gone, I have felt very uncomfortable using them. It felt worse than other public restrooms.” American High bathrooms have earned quite a reputation, and students respect these bathrooms so much that they refuse to utilize them. 

     All around school, there are hoards of students who have been simply soiling their undergarments or choosing not to touch the heavenly bathrooms at school, afraid they will disparage these holy institutions. It is not healthy for teenagers to be holding in their bodily fluids for extended periods of time. It is our responsibility, as students who have a responsibility to American High, to speak out about the bathrooms and do our part in maintaining them. As the great Shakespeare once eloquently said, “Flush the d**n toilet.”

Pictured above, the complimentary lunch buffet is laid out in the large stall in the 700 wing girls’ bathroom occasionally. 

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