MHS bathrooms are a funny thing

Sienna Shaw, Staff Writer

Bathrooms are a funny thing. You don’t know how necessary they are until you try to avoid them at all costs. As a sophomore, I never got the 411 on the bathrooms since we didn’t really enter the building last year. The bliss of using my own bathroom with hot water, soap, a working sink, and an actual towel to dry my hands was a luxury in comparison to what they label as bathrooms at MHS.

Imagine my surprise when I showed up on campus to find a room that says, bathroom on it but isn’t exactly that. I mean, who needs a lock on the bathroom or soap? That’s underrated–especially in covid times. I have come to find out that I am not alone in dreading the so-called bathroom while at school. I have polled students on what they think the best bathrooms are, the biggest issues, and ways we can improve our high school experience. 

Now, all things are relative. Because the majority of the students avoid the bathrooms but there are also those who cause the issues. The latest basement flooding was thanks to a student who thought it was fun to “clog the toilet” and let it all roll out. The majority of us are not applauding this behavior. Nor should we. Because bathroom cleanliness seems to be awarded for good behavior. 

Now there is what I call the best of the worst bathrooms at MHS. So, I will highlight a few bathrooms that might be worth seeking out. MHS students mention they try to avoid the “dirty, smelly bathrooms,” which are pretty much everywhere. Most agree that the first-floor bathroom “is great because there are fewer people” or “the third floor because it is less crowded and has good WiFi” or the “all-gender bathroom near the cafeteria because it is empty and tends to be the cleanest.” 

The biggest issues according to students are the lack of door locks and toilets not working. The overall cleanliness of sinks, soap, toilets and floors seems to be the biggest issue. No one I talked to feels comfortable trying to do their business while holding the door closed or wants to sit on a toilet and not be able to wash their hands. But again, luxury. 

Many students I talked to have issues with the lack of soap and door locks. “I would like all of the bathrooms to have soap. The girl’s bathroom in the science wing is without soap for days at a time,” one student said.

“They feel really dirty, especially when toilets leak all over the floors, and the stall doors either don’t close or don’t lock so there’s no privacy,” another added. 

Overall the privacy of the bathrooms is a major problem. A sophomore at Montclair High School also highlighted the absence of a disposal in the stalls for feminine products. “Some of the bathrooms (girls bathroom in science wing on second floor) doesn’t have feminine product disposal bins in the stalls, which is completely unacceptable,” the student maintained.

Another student had similar sentiments: “Fix the locks, make sure the doors actually close. I’d like places in the stalls to put sanitary pads, sinks/soap dispensers/paper towel dispensers that actually work and are stocked.”

If you are looking to avoid the worst of the worst, the consensus seems to be the freshman building (pretty much all of them) but the basement bathroom and top floor girl’s bathroom.  The  dirtiest is the “the 2nd floor main boy’s bathroom,” many said. Another student stated, “the worst bathroom in the freshman building is definitely the girl’s bathroom on the top floor at the end of the hallway. The stalls are so short and none of the locks lock.” 

The high school seems to lack either the means or the will to fix these problems. It is hard to understand why a high school that’s main focus is to educate teens and make them feel comfortable would fail so miserably at failing to put soap in a dispenser, fix locks on the door or evaluate ways to make the bathrooms safe.