The Impact of Locked Bathrooms


Bathrooms at Silver Creek have been locked since the first semester in response to a recent uptick in student vandalism and misuse of bathrooms. Student vandalism in bathrooms has become a huge problem for students and staff over the past year. What initially started as a viral TikTok trend has evolved into near daily vandalizing of school property, and general misuse of bathrooms. This includes drawing on surfaces, hiding in bathrooms from classes, and clogging toilets. The impact of these trends fall almost entirely on the custodial staff, and is felt throughout the entire school.

“If we see vandalism and I don’t have time to get it, I have to lock the restrooms so other kids aren’t exposed to it,” Ismael Granados, Head Custodian, explains.

Granados only opens up the bathrooms if 24 hours go by with no grafiti or other vandalism. The fear is that students will see graffiti and decide to add on to it, or worse, feel unsafe. For the staff, this recent uptick in vandalism has just become part of the job.

“I spend less time teaching classes, or hanging out in the hallways,” said Student Resource Officer, Ryan Douglas. “Part of my job is to establish relations with youth, and if I’m stuck behind a TV screen looking at a camera to see who’s done what, it takes away from that ability to do the other stuff.”

In addition to vandalism, Douglas explains how students will stay in bathrooms to avoid going to class, or as hangout spots for vaping. Douglas, like many students and staff, views the school as a collective home for the Silver Creek community. When students disrespect the school property, it frustrates the community. Officer Douglas explained that a lot of the responsibility falls on the students to help end these trends.

“Some of this [change] has to come from the students, and taking responsibility for seeing something, saying something,” Douglas says.

The office allows students to anonymously report bathroom misuse, which will help create a safer environment for students. Officer Douglas suggests Safe To Tell as a resource to report bathroom misuse and vandalism, but encourages students to be specific in their reports. This means including time, location, what happened, as well as descriptions of the students.

In addition to staff, Silver Creek students are being burdened with the impact of these trends.
Ryan Mandeville, a Silver Creek student, explains, “The locked bathrooms are a major inconvenience. I’ve had to walk to the other end of the school just to use the bathroom.”

Students are being marked tardy after passing periods after struggling to find an unlocked bathroom. If a bathroom is unlocked, there is also a chance that students are vaping, or being disruptive. Every student deserves to use the bathroom in peace, and an inability to do so reflects poorly on the entire school.