News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

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A privilege or a necessity


We’ve all been there. You’re running late to class and urgently need to use the bathroom. After an excruciating five flights of stairs, you find it… locked? At Tamalpais High School, this is a regular occurrence in the school day. The bathrooms are constantly locked and students at Tam are having to sprint across campus to use another. 

“In the morning I was going around to find a bathroom. They’re all locked — sometimes the student center bathroom is locked and the science bathroom is closed — so you have to go all around school … it takes time out of my classes,” junior Caeden Gardner said. “Administration is making it harder for the kids that use [the bathroom] for its main purpose by restricting access.” 

Gardner finally proposed, “The bathrooms are there for a reason, so why are they locked?” Especially for the kids who are genuinely trying to use the restroom, this is a good question to be asking.

This bathroom-locking incident happens daily and it seems as though it is a universal experience throughout Tam’s student population.

“The bathrooms are practically inaccessible during passing periods; I don’t want to run myself ragged sprinting halfway across campus because I spent nine minutes waiting in line to pee,” junior Kika Dunayevich said.

Something that should be a necessity is almost treated as a privilege.

  “The admin locks the bathrooms when there is a safety concern with it or somebody’s smoking in there or something and it needs to be aired out. So that is the main reason for it,” Dean of Student Services Nathan Bernstein said. 

This seems ironic because just this year, Tam installed vape detectors in every bathroom around campus. “It’s been much less this year. I don’t think we’ve locked them since the vape detectors have been in,” Bernstein responded, regarding the new installation of the detectors.

But this decrease in locking of bathrooms seems short-lived, as multiple students reported that “a bathroom was locked just the other day,” proving this is still a regular occurrence. 

“The alternative of locking the bathrooms is policing to keep them clean, and if less [bathrooms] are open, it’s easier to keep clean,” Bernstein claimed.

The regulation of bathrooms makes sense when the bathrooms are getting dirty, and it’s more work for the custodial staff to have to clean up the restrooms. However, Bernstein’s point does not take into account that students are unable to use the nearest bathroom during passing periods and/or class time. 

The general consensus of both Gardner and Dunayevich was that this policy of locking bathrooms takes time away from generally punctual students, and considering the large campus of Tam, it is extremely inconvenient for the closest bathroom to be locked. This being said, if Tam students respect the bathroom spaces and keep them clean then they will be locked less often and both the administration team and the students will be satisfied. 

The Tam population is massive. Coupled with the fact that there are few bathrooms around campus, we should do our best to ensure that the ones that are near should always be available to whoever needs to use the toilet, grab a tampon, look in the mirror, or wash their hands.

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