Entering the winding halls of the Art department wing, each door further dampens the bustling sounds behind it. The flourishing arts echo down the halls when doors open for brief moments, turning heads of wandering students. These are the untapped, secretive hallways home to creativity.
Creativity and art come in many forms. You hear it in the blare of the trumpets. You see it in the grace of the dancers. You feel it in the welding of metal and sawing of wood. But you also see it on the track wall and bathrooms of our high school. Graffiti and “tagging” have descended upon and within our school, and this isn’t the first time.
This recent outbreak of graffiti hit the foyer and bathrooms of the theater two days before the Franklin Winter Concert. Jason Owens, the FHS music director, took the liberty of scrubbing and painting over the graffiti on the walls. Owens did this not just out of respect for keeping our school in good condition, but also for all the families and individuals who were coming to enjoy their night at the concert. Though there was talk of the concert being postponed due to this incident, the performance ran on schedule. Even with his efforts, a few tags still plastered walls around the theater.
Alongside this, Owens went out and replaced the men’s bathroom handle, which has been missing since last spring. These are problems that should not be left up to the teachers to fix; they should not have to go above and beyond in this way.
With the return of students from winter break, the bathrooms by the theater have been closed and locked up by administration until further notice. Too many kids who do not even have classes in the arts department go there to skip classes, vape, and graffiti. “It’s a right to be able to go down and use the restroom, but it’s not a right to go and vandalize it,” says Owens. Franklin will host the upcoming Oregon All-State Middle School Band performance in February. If the teachers, students, and audience from all over Oregon are to be awed by our state-of-the-art remodel, the state of the school must be in tiptop shape.
The other solution is to stop the vandalism from happening in the first place. Besides the recent graffiti, theft has been a prevalent problem within the arts wing. There is no school security overseeing the area, nor cameras to watch the hallways. Admin have suggested additional cameras in the areas that lack them and await further information. The arts wing is the one that should have cameras the most, as classes often leave their belongings unattended to use the auditorium for performance rehearsals.
Markings litter walls of Franklin, plaster is smashed in stairwells. We need to stop acting like this is the government’s school. This is our school, so walk like you know it. Don’t ignore the faults and pretend they don’t matter; make your voice heard because the students are the power of the school. We are the ones that accomplish in our school. But we need to care about it to do so.