Opened Or Closed?

Savannah Coscarella, Staff Writer

Public restrooms – whether in a grocery store, movie theater, mall, or local restaurant – are always provided and can be utilized with nearly zero inconveniences.

Not in this case. The Danbury local alternative high school’s “bathroom rule” appears to be different. For a student to use the restroom, the teacher in the room has to call up to the main office to ask the school’s safety advocate, Bob, to unlock the door.

Pre-covid, the school’s bathrooms were unlocked and could be of use at all times. Now after the students’ return, the procedure of doing something as simple as using the bathroom has radically changed. Students and teachers are now speaking up.

Today, Oct. 26, 2022, I went around the school to take an anonymous poll and got 59 students’ opinions. Thirty-eight out of the 59 students (64%) voted to have all bathrooms unlocked, and 21 said to keep them the way they are now.

According to social studies teacher Rob, “I want the bathrooms locked but not the way they’re locked now.” And according to math teacher Anthony, “I want an in-between. We need to find a happy middle.”

Head of ACE, principal John Webber had this to say, “There are definitely pros and cons on the way the bathrooms operate. A con would be how the teacher has to go out of their way to call up for the bathrooms, another would be that the bathrooms are getting used as a break room, a place students go as if they feel as if they needed a break whether it’s because they’re having a bad day or they’re just going through a rough patch. Is there another alternative way of doing so? Is there a way where the student gets some sort of support and could be helped by one of us?…

Privacy, lots of the students here like the idea of going into the bathrooms and having their own space to do their own things without feeling invaded. What I would like to do is put a committee together that includes academic teachers, front office staff, support administration, and students like you to gather our thoughts and get a deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives.”

Along with the few teachers and staff I also received two of the ACE students’ angles and this is what they had to say. Cole Ferrentino said “When the bathrooms are unlocked everyone overuses it and abuses it, almost as a hangout room or gathering place. It makes me uncomfortable.” Genesis Andujar – “I’m in between not going to lie because I want privacy when I have to use the bathroom.”

All the staff wants is to find an untroubled convenient way to allow the students to use the restrooms.

Will they listen to what we have to say?