Franklin Bathroom Reform

Picture 1: The main Franklin bathroom closest to the main doors.

For many students at Franklin, using the bathroom during school hours is a nuisance. Long wait times, a shortage of toilets, and unclean facilities can be an issue for many. Further worsening conditions, outside of lunch there is usually barely enough time to use the bathroom between classes for students who have to go, or they risk being late.

As well as the aforementioned bathroom-specific issues, there are also several Franklin policies that relate to using the bathroom during class time. The 15-minute rule states that students cannot leave in the first 15 or last 15 minutes of class. From a teaching standpoint, this rule is very helpful because it allows the halls to be clear of students during the first and last 15 minutes of a period. This provides less distraction for security, who can respond to more serious calls by teachers. The rule can make attendance easier for teachers who need to know which students are in class.

However, from a student perspective, the 15-minute rule can be frustrating. There may not be time to use the bathroom during breaks, because the student may be visiting teachers at lunch or running to their next class on the other side of the building. Because of these reasons, students who frequently need to use the bathroom at the start of class are not able to, causing mild to severe discomfort from holding in their bladder or bowels.

There are also notable issues with the bathrooms themselves. In a voluntary survey given to several Franklin students, of the 9 who responded, when asked how big the bathroom sizes were, in their opinion, half answered medium, while 3 people said small, with just 1 person saying large. The general consensus is that most bathrooms are fine size-wise, with a slightly smaller number saying they are too small. Additionally, when asked how the bathrooms smell, the general consensus was very divided, with 4 people saying not great, 3 people saying fine, and 2 people saying it smelled medium. In the same survey, when asked how the bathrooms could be improved, students shared some ideas. One student said that getting rid of the 15-minute rule would help, another said that putting putting feminine hygiene products in the girls bathroom would help, and another said that making more stalls should be a priority, because whenever they go in the bathroom, all the stalls are filled.

On the issue of the 15-minute rule, Franklin history teacher David Marsh stated, “The last 15 minutes are harder to contain students, I get the point, but in the last 15 minutes there’s always one student.” In relation to the quality of staff bathrooms, Marsh also says that the men’s staff bathroom has poor ventilation and was always smelly. When asked how Franklin bathrooms could be improved, he simply stated “Better ventilation.”

Santino Olguin (10) explained that although the bathrooms are not too far away from his classes, on a crowded day, the walk can take up to a minute and a half. “One good thing about the bathroom is that there’s always toilet paper,” he stated. When asked about the Franklin bathrooms worst quality, he pointed to several areas for Franklin to improve on: “A lack of soap and paper towels, which sometimes makes drying [his] hands difficult; the poor smell; the sometimes unclean seats; and the occasional clogged toilet.” When asked about his stance on the 15-minute rule, he said, “The school is taking a stance. They aren’t going to be taken advantage of. I get it, but I don’t agree with it.” Olguin also noted that “The walls are white, which brings out the dirtiness of the bathroom, if it was a different color it would seem more clean.”

Although there are many different views on the bathrooms at Franklin, there are several overlapping themes in which the bathrooms could be improved. Better ventilation to improve smell and adding one or two more toilets, urinals, and stalls for some of the bathrooms that have a wider range of classes close to them would improve the bathrooms. Despite these faults, the bathrooms do have some positives attributes. There is rarely a shortage of toilet paper, and the custodians do a great job cleaning up the mess left behind in the bathrooms every day, as well as restocking soap and paper towels. Overall however, many toilet problems are caused by students. Throwing wrappers in the urinals, clogging the toilets by using too much toilet paper, not wiping off the seat, and wasting paper towels and soap should be done less frequently by students. When going to the bathroom at school, make sure to clean up the bathroom and wash hands properly. The person who comes in after you does not need unnecessary problems dumped on them while they are trying to do their business.

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