The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

Locked bathrooms spark frustration among students, staff

Kenneth Shue
By the end of the school day, many of the bathrooms throughout the school are locked, causing many students to travel to other floors to use the restroom.

At RM, many students have become irritated over the lack of open bathrooms at school. Searching for open bathrooms has caused several students to miss class time, interfering with their learning. Some students have expressed that they find it to be a major inconvenience to spend so much time just to use the restroom. 

“It wastes my class time; it wastes my time to learn.” Sophomore Shyla Agarwal said, “I can’t take notes in class because I missed them which affects my grades on quizzes and tests.” 

Many students share similar stories about having to search the school for a bathroom. 

Sophomore Sara Benachenhou said, “I was on the second floor and both the bathrooms were locked so I had to go all the way to the first floor to get to a bathroom.” 

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However, some acknowledge that RM staff is locking bathrooms in order to prevent students from vaping or participating in other activities during school hours. RM security recognizes that students are frustrated but also sees the pros in the situation.

“We are trying to avoid the kids vaping and doing other things in the bathroom,” Security guard Tim Thompson said. 

MCPS’s restroom policy includes staff monitoring bathrooms, schools limiting access to certain bathrooms during transition and unstructured periods and keeping the doors of unlocked bathrooms open with latches. This plan also states that frequently used restrooms should stay accessible to students. 

Some RM students are also confused about why the restrooms are locked as they believe it is not beneficial to the school. 

“I don’t really see why they’re locking them in the first place,” Benachenhou said.

Mr. Thompson explained some possible reasons bathrooms would be locked during the school day. “It’s usually if there is graffiti, [if] somebody messes up a toilet or something breaks,” Thompson said. “It’s more so what the students are going inside of them and forcing building services to have to clean them.”

The rationale behind locking the restrooms includes not only reducing drug usage and preventing skipping classes but also in order to maintain cleanliness in school. Students clogging toilets and leaving the restrooms dirty seems to be a large part of the problem. 

Starting last year, RM has begun to keep all bathrooms with the door wide open. This also had a negative reaction from students as it felt like an invasion of privacy to many. However, according to the MCPS Student Restroom Monitoring Plan, the goal was to prevent students from vaping and other drug and tobacco use. 

The reasoning behind the locked doors and the policies have not been made clear to RM students, which has resulted in confusion and frustration for many. “I don’t think it helps students,” Agarwal said.

Members of RM’s staff do acknowledge the frustration this has caused students and other staff members. 

“I definitely think it’s bad for the bladder. I think it’s inconvenient for a lot of people being on different floors. So we totally understand everyone being upset about it, but there’s only so much we can actually do to prevent it to an extent,” Mr. Thompson said. 


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