What is Going on with Pennridge Bathrooms?


Shreya Soni

Close-up of Personal Bathroom Sign at Pennridge High School

It is no secret that the bathrooms of Pennridge cause distress for both students and staff. Ranging from vandalism, destruction of property, and use of drugs, action needs to be taken. Pennridge High School has educated administrators here to help who have informed our staff of ways to help.  Sharing information regarding the concern for serious damage being done is a major priority, and future plans to help stop these issues are being made now. It is a situation no one wanted, but hopefully, new regulations and an understanding of the situation will help make Pennridge’s bathrooms better for the future.

About halfway through the school year, the senior class welcomed a new house principal, Dr. Alyssa Walloff. Coming in during a stressful situation is never easy, but with the help of the other staff and custodial workers, there are new ideas in play. Previous regulations were mostly confined to sign-out sheets, but this new house principal has other ideas. Yet, to make a difference for the future, looking to the past is needed. She goes on to tell of the past attempts administration has used, “Bathroom monitors and check-ins, sign-out sheets, lunch bathroom security guard, and addressing the situation on scene.” Since then, the issues have escalated, and currently, a revision of these regulations is needed. Speaking to students and staff, it is clear that these new regulations are not working as much as the administration would like. Instead, what started as a rule to stop the behavior has only impacted the hundreds of kids who aren’t involved. “I feel bad for kids’ inconvenience”, says Pennridge Security Office Joe Gallo, “I feel bad for the custodial staff, they have a lot to clean up.” It is unfortunate that such a situation is taking place as it impacts many other students. Yet, the problem cannot go unnoticed. The perpetrators have done unthinkable damage and steps have to be taken to stop these vandals.

The range of destruction done to the school’s bathrooms ranges from the breaking of sinks to graffiti on the walls. It is not as simple as one may think, instead, it has caused longer hours for custodians and problems for administrators. Taking a look at what’s been happening, our staff talked to Gallo about the worst damage he’s seen done. “Every wall was covered in graffiti, students poured red dye in the bathroom and stained bathroom tiles and grout, clogging of toilet bowls, items flushed down the toilet that went into the pipes causing damage in the wall” explains Gallo. These are serious damages being done to the school and that is not including the activity that often happens in the bathrooms such as vaping and other drug use. The Pennridge custodial staff works hard to repair and make bathrooms as accessible and clean as possible, despite these incidents. The reason they work so hard and these regulations exist is to have better quality bathrooms and limit the amount of area that could be misused. The work that the Pennridge janitorial staff does to try and make the school’s bathrooms clean and as accessible as possible in these troubling times is incredible.

New plans are to be implemented now to try and stop these violations. Currently, the new technique is having teachers wait outside at desks and ask students to show their passes. Since it is a recent addition, no new data as of now has been collected to see how effective this new change has been. Though, it seems that it takes away from teachers’ time and has been receiving some backlash from students as well. It has come down to these methods and teachers, unfortunately, have to pay the price. Teachers should not be assigned to monitor bathrooms when their job is to teach and educate students in the classroom. What makes solving the bathroom issues difficult is pinpointing a specific group of people at the root. Because of this, all of the school’s population has to follow these new regulations. Walloff says it is mainly speculation that “students wanting to leave class, frequent flyers to the bathroom, the bathroom sign out and such add to teachers’ responsibility.” Though there are more plans in mind that might be implemented soon as well. As the year begins to finish up, it is easy to brush off many issues. It is currently unknown as to whether these new rules will stop the behavior for good.

Hopefully, with an understanding of the situation, the problem will be resolved. Staff and administration are doing their best to try and create a sanitary environment for all students and hopefully, if not by the end of this year, the fall will be back to a cleaner and safer place.