The sign was put up by the school faculty when the bathrooms closed down. (Photography by: August Berrios) (August Berrios)
The sign was put up by the school faculty when the bathrooms closed down. (Photography by: August Berrios)

August Berrios

The Controversy With The School Bathrooms

April 6, 2023

Within any school, bathrooms should be provided for both staff and students. The issue within our own school bathrooms appears to be a battle between the students and staff. It seems as if neither side of the problem can come to a conclusion on positive changes that need to be done to improve the bathrooms of Huntington Beach High School (HBHS).  

Staff and Student Relationship 

The bathroom seems to be a very controversial topic for students and staff. There’s no debate that there is an issue whenever something occurs in our school bathrooms. But what is the middle ground? Do students and staff agree on the issues Huntington Beach High School faces when it comes to the bathrooms? Furthermore, do the two sides agree on what to do about these issues? The school’s side of this issue is they are allowed to make changes without the say of the students, but on the other side, most students think that changes without student input is absurd.

What does this mean? If students and staff cannot find a middle ground with the issues involving our bathrooms, nothing substantial will be accomplished. If the main focus is on just the changes in the bathrooms, the issues seem to be rooted in the relationship between the students and the changes that the school makes.

Daniel Morris, the principal at HBHS said, “If [students] see something or know of something going on, we hope they will say something. Students know more than any adult on campus. The only way we’re gonna be able to solve this is if we work together.” If students are able to get on the same level with staff about the issues that our restroom facilities face we would be able to take more steps forward.

The Issue:

Every school year the bathrooms seem to be defaced in a new way, and most of the time this destruction comes from popular trends. One of the recent examples is the taking of resources in the bathrooms. Most of these attempts were futile and would end in more destruction. Another example of harmful trends was the destruction of the soap dispensers, which caused the B-building bathroom to move the soap and towel dispensers outside of the facility.

Poor Hygiene:

Izzy Vosper, a freshman at HBHS who uses the female facilities said, “The cleanliness of the toilets [needs improvement]. Almost every time I go in there is at least one stall that has period blood on the toilet or the toilet isn’t flushed or the bathrooms don’t have any paper towels or toilet paper.” 

The issue with fluids being left unflushed seemed to be an issue that persists for both gendered restrooms.

Enzo Criscione, a junior HBHS student who uses the male facilities said, “Fluids that spill all over the floor are left uncleaned.” The issue with basic hygiene has been a problem for many students for years and it can dampen the on-campus experience. This destructive behavior can paint a bad picture of HBHS.

Mr. Bourne, a U.S. history teacher on campus says, “You have to realize that this is your school too, it’s a big part of what your life is like for this time period of your life.” This emphasis on the high school experience shows how easily it can be affected. One solution is “Just being more prideful in your school,” says Bourne. Although both staff and students agree that the people who are destructive to the bathrooms are only a small majority of students, this small majority can have a large impact on the rest of the student body. 


The problem with vaping on campus is a problem that has a large effect on the bathrooms. “It smells like there are eighty vapes. The vapes also clog the toilets,” says Daniel Gimenez, a junior at Huntington Beach High School. This issue with vaping has been ongoing since the popularity of flavored disposable vapes

Bourne continues by saying, “This new law that prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products like vape juice will hopefully help because it won’t be as enticing to students.” The proposition, which is the law being referenced, may aid in the issue that the school faces with vaping.

“It’s really hard to control what happens on campus,” Bourne says. To solve these issues is to try and subside these harmful habits before they spill into school grounds.

Destructive Trends:

Online trends affecting day-to-day life at a school are a no-brainer when it comes to the easy access to social media that high school students have. Social media can help spread awareness and positivity across campus, however, social media has been used many times to create trends that are chaotic and destructive.

An anonymous junior at HBHS said, “Students shouldn’t be stealing stuff from the bathroom, or the ones that destroy the soap machines, that joke is dead now.” This recurring theme of how these issues mainly arise from only a smaller group of students shows how its effect is widespread and significant. 

This also has large implications for HBHS staff. Due to the unpredictable nature of internet trends, staff has to try and solve these issues when they happen. This is where the disconnect between staff and students seems to start. As such, the staff makes the choice to have people in the bathroom or close them down for a certain time period.

Charlie Nguyen, a student at HBHS who uses the female restrooms said, “They just close the bathrooms when they are only allowed to be out for a certain period of time.”

Nurse’s Restroom:

Some students on campus opt to use the nurse’s restroom on campus rather than the multi-people bathrooms.

Reagan Cole, a junior at HBHS said, “It’s clean compared to the normal school bathrooms. It’s nasty. Most of the time there’s no toilet paper or toilet seat covers, and it’s always overpopulated.” 

Many students that choose to use the nursing facility mostly agree that these issues drive them to go out of their way to go to the nurse’s office. However, this also can present small issues.

Annalise Morgan, the on-campus nurse said, “Students with medical needs or ones that are sick definitely get priority, but as long as it’s free, we are happy to let others use it, but again, we only have one restroom for three thousand students.”

Although a smaller issue, it still shows how trying to avoid the normal school facilities is quite a challenge, which isn’t helped by the gender-neutral restrooms never being unlocked to the students.

Changes Necessary:

People may find ways to agree on the problems that face our on-campus facilities, but agreeing on reform is what will help fix these problems.

Morris said, “Having a checkout system with the digital IDs, where you can scan a QR code that goes into a spreadsheet which helps us know when you leave and get back to class.” This utilization of digital IDs will provide a new way for the staff to try and narrow down the small majority that is destructive towards the restrooms.”

Having these types of restrictions are similar to what some students have suggested.

Stone De Alba, a junior at HBHS said, “They need to put restrictions on the students that can go to the restroom.” It is a step in the right direction seeing that some students and staff agree on what to do.

However, there is still a large divide on what to do about this. But what the staff could start on is ensuring the right hygiene products remain in the bathrooms to maintain its cleanliness. It would have to be an effort between not just the staff but students as well, but if students can help their peers not be so destructive and staff can maintain the facility, the changes to come will lead to a more seamless transition.

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