RM enforces MCPS’ new bathroom security policy


Hannah Lee

Before RM implemented this policy, one could often find students huddled in the large stall and vaping.

Katherine Sundstrom and Hannah Lee

MCPS announced a student restroom monitoring plan to make staff check restrooms more frequently, install latches on exterior doors to keep them open, and limit access to bathrooms between periods, during lunch and before and after school. This policy was detailed in their community message originally released on Monday, Feb. 13 regarding safety and security measure updates in schools.

School bathrooms have recently become a controversial issue as they provide a private space for students to engage in harmful activities like bullying, vaping, drug use and skipping class. Parents and students in MCPS have recently expressed concerns about bathroom ‌safety after recent incidents like the shooting at Magruder High School last year and reports of students at BCC High School being found intoxicated and unconscious, both of which occurred in a bathroom setting.

Schools across the country have enforced harsher policies, like allowing only one student to use the restroom at a time, setting a limit on bathroom breaks in a semester and, in some middle schools, banning bathroom usage in the first and last ten minutes of class.

Principal Alicia Deeny believes that the plan is working at RM. “I think it’s prevented students from hanging out in the bathrooms,” she said. “Ultimately we want the bathrooms to be a place where students can just go and take care of a basic need, and I do think it has helped.” 

Although school policies aim to discourage students from using the bathroom to skip class, some students may still attempt to do so through alternative methods.

Freshman Olivia Negro said, “The rest of the time [the bathroom] is still a place people can go, and they can still walk around the hall.”

Many RM students still express skepticism over the plan’s efficacy and potential encroachment of student privacy. Freshman Hailee Joya said, “It’s probably not a good idea to have the door open just because you know, there’s mirrors, girls want to fix themselves up, and now there’s no privacy.”

RM students also believe that closing off many of the bathrooms is going to make things worse for both teachers trying to teach and students trying to learn by keeping students out of class for prolonged periods of time.

“I think it’s not good to have some of the doors locked just because you’re out of class more to walk to the nearest open bathroom,” Joya said.

Additionally, RM students think the policy unfairly punishes students who merely need to use the restroom while doing little to increase school security.

“Definitely not. There’s still a lot of students that are still going to be there,” Joya said when asked if the policy would be effective in preventing students from using the bathroom to skip class and engage in dangerous activities.

Recently, the second and third floors’ restrooms have been frequently closed, causing long lines between classes. Students suspect it is because of the new policy. However, Ms. Deeny says that it is mostly due to students intentionally clogging the toilets.

“Unfortunately in the last few days, there have been some toilets that have been stopped up, because students put items in there that were not flushable,” Ms. Deeny said. “Then the toilet overflowed and then there was water on the floor. So the toilet would have to be cleared out, and then that bathroom completely cleaned. So, bathrooms are closed for maintenance reasons.”