Palo Alto High School's News and Features Publication

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Editorial: Students need to respect bathrooms

Art by Divya Ghandi

Custodian Imelda De Guzman had a particularly visceral reaction the first time she entered a Paly restroom.

“I threw up,” De Guzman said.

We can empathize. Soap dispensers lie on the ground. Once pristine stall doors have been rendered unrecognizable by the explicit images and words drawn crudely over them. Solid and liquid waste alike routinely cover the floors and walls.

For many Palo Alto High School students, using the restroom has become a deeply unpleasant experience.

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Poor sanitation and rampant vandalization have led some students to avoid using school bathrooms altogether. This needs to end. School bathrooms need to be treated with respect.

Paly junior Jessica Mann is one of many students who prefers not using Paly’s restrooms.

“Personally, I don’t use the bathrooms here because I think it’s so gross,” Mann said. “Students don’t take care of the bathroom and that’s not the staff’s fault.”

Mann adds that some bathrooms even lack the bare minimum of locks on stall doors, a result of the vandalism stemming from last year’s “Devious Lick” TikTok trend, an internet prank where students stole and/or damaged school property.

“I know that a lot of the stalls don’t have any liners in them,” Mann said.

The poor state of the restrooms doesn’t only impact students, however. For custodians, restroom disarray complicates their work.

Custodian Rowel Gregorio was shocked by the dire state of the restrooms.

One day you will have a job, and hopefully you won’t have to experience what we’re experiencing.

— Rowel Gregorio, custodian

“There’s poop on the floor, on the wall, and even in the sink,” Gregorio said. “It’s everywhere.”

While alarming, restroom mistreatment from the students isn’t entirely out-of-left-field for the custodians.

Gregorio said he suspects that the student vandalization stems from peer pressure.

“They [students] think it makes them look tough,” Gregorio said. “‘Oh you can’t do it,’ ‘Oh but I can.’”

De Guzman echoes Gregorio’s sentiments and argues that students ought to regulate themselves for the betterment of both their peers and the custodial staff.

“You should know how to discipline yourself,” De Guzman said.

Gregorio adds that students should consider how their actions would make them feel if they were in the custodial staff’s shoes.

Students should reflect on their actions and commit to ending these disrespectful acts.

Students need to take responsibility for their wrongdoings and stop vandalizing the bathrooms so Paly can become a cleaner and more welcoming space for everyone.  

Do you think Paly bathrooms are too dirty?