New Policy has Students Waiting in Line to Use the Bathroom

Angelina Edwards, Journalism Student

Sophomores Zoe Blum and Brianna Colasurdo were in Mr. McHale and Dr. Vollrath’s Sophomore English class. This class allows the students to leave mid-class to take a break, use the bathroom, or continue working. When Zoe and Brianna left for the bathroom together they found a long line of students waiting to use the facility.

They waited about 6-7 minutes before finally being allowed into the bathroom. “It was awkward just standing there and we had to sprint back to class,” Blum said.

Once they returned to class, a new assignment already started without them. Mr. McHale and Dr. Volrath were not happy with their late arrival. “We were told, we took too long to go to the bathroom,” Colasurdo said.

Hunterdon Central Regional High School has adapted to new bathroom policies. About one month after the school year began in 2019, the school administration came up with a new bathroom policy that would prevent a certain amount of students from using the bathrooms at once. Some boy’s bathrooms can hold up to 6 at a time while some girl’s bathrooms can hold up to 4.

The administration introduced these policies once the vandalism and vaping began to worsen. Mr. Behre is a Duty Release Aid at Hunterdon Central. Part of his job is to check all the bathrooms and make sure there was no damage or no students just standing around wasting class time.

“I’ve seen toilets pulled off the ground and doors pulled off stalls, that’s really the worst. There’s stuff I’ve seen I won’t even repeat, it’s so disgusting,” Behre said.

Due to all of this damage, some bathrooms in the 11/12 building are closed. In addition to this, some of the teachers and subs are assigned to signing students in and out of the bathrooms but they’ve been lacking people to do so.

“There tends to be a shortage of subs right now and I think that’s part of the problem,” Behre said. “If you see a bathroom unattended, let’s say you go to the bathroom and it’s locked with no teacher there that means we’re short that day. We don’t have enough people, at times, to man all of the bathrooms.”

Some teachers have noticed that once a student goes to the bathroom, a line of kids starts to follow. This is crucial for class time because any instructions said while a student was in the bathroom, may have to be repeated. Ms. Sweeney is a Social Studies teacher at Hunterdon Central.

“The policy presently is one student at a time out of your class. So, the choice is either to enforce that policy or to do what Mr. McHale does and have a break. A five-minute break where anybody who wishes to go to the bathroom, can go. Therefore, there is no instructional time being missed,” she said.

Barren Thomas is a Junior at Hunterdon Central High School. He was in Geometry when he found himself needing to use the restroom. He signed out and walked towards the closest men’s room. He was forced to wait in a line with three other boys in front of him. It took about three minutes of waiting time and two minutes using the bathroom. Overall, it took him five minutes total when it should’ve only taken two.

He headed back to class and sat down at his desk. “My paper was empty while everyone else’s had notes filled out,” Thomas said. The bathroom wait affected Barren’s class time because Barren missed out on the notes and had to obtain them from a friend.

Mr. Estrada is the Freshman Vice-Principal, and he was part of the creation of the new bathroom policies. “The number of people, max number, was not for phone reasons, it was really just because kids were not using the facility appropriately,” he said.

Estrada mentioned that when he has entered a bathroom he’s seen students standing around or using their phones.

“What we were having more of a problem with was less about the electronic devices and more about the amount of loitering and the number of people that are just hanging out in the bathroom,” he said.

By putting up the new signs that state the number of students allowed in the restrooms at a time, the abundance of students just hanging around in the bathroom will decrease.