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Students who vandalized bathrooms only hurt their peers

Boys trying to use the bathrooms on the Atascadero High School campus over the past few weeks have found several of them locked because they have been wrecked.

Students have smashed urinals with large rocks from nearby planters and ripped the urinals off the walls. They have placed large rocks in the toilets and defecated on them. Urinals were put in the sinks and soap/paper towel dispensers were ripped off the walls. All of this damage needed repair; therefore, the bathrooms were locked, reducing the number of bathrooms available for student use.

These ridiculous, immature acts of vandalism inconvenience all students on campus. The serious damage was not only costly to repair, but it has caused students to walk halfway across campus to use the restrooms that are open. Ashley Pantaleon said, “It really is a bummer when everyone has to use the same bathroom and you waste lots of time just because all the other ones are out of order.” Students were obligated to scout across the entire campus for a usable bathroom. Kids were out of class, unsupervised, for longer periods of time, missing important information and learning.

Additionally, the recent damage cost hundreds of dollars to repair. The cost of urinals range from $200 to $2000 each; this does not include plumbing repairs. This is not minor vandalism, like making a mess with toilet paper or writing on the walls. “I think it is very wrong for students to damage property that is not theirs for their entertainment,” said Hailey Gent. “It’s just disrespectful to our campus, which makes us look like trash.”

Students are furious about the damage their peers are causing on campus and the inconvenience it has caused on all the rest of the students. Many would like to see the vandals caught, punished, and made to pay for the damage themselves. Students can download the free STOP IT app from their App Store and use the code GOHOUNDS to connect to Atascadero High School. The app allows students to offer anonymous tips about who committed the crimes, or any other information that they want to share with the Assistant Principal of Discipline/Attendance Mr. Allen. Students are encouraged to use this app to help the administration stop this absurd behavior.

In an email on May 17, Principal Neely reminded teachers to enforce the current Bathroom Policy, which requires students to sign out and back in, leaving their phones with the teacher. Teachers are also supposed to only let one student go at a time, regardless of gender. If the vandalism continues, administrators have considered returning to a ten-year-old policy in which students had to be escorted to the bathroom by campus supervisors. Since there are only two of them, that means long waits and disruption to classes as teachers have to make phone calls to the office for the escorts. That old policy was very troublesome, but stopped the kind of damage that has occurred on campus recently. Mr. Neely said he encourages teachers to keep students in at break to compensate for the lost instructional time when they use the bathroom during class. That has proved to be a great deterrent for students making frequent, unneeded trips to the bathroom during class time.

Students should make it known to all their friends that damaging our campus is not cool. It is despicable, immature, and ridiculous. Those who know who committed these acts of vandalism that have inconvenienced everyone else on campus should report what they know.

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