LRHS Bathroom Closure

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One of the many bathrooms that have been closed because of the vaping problem at Leesville. The closing of these bathrooms may solve one problem but open up another. (Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Taylor)

Last year after the numerous fire alarms caused by students vaping in the bathroom, Mr. Solomon, the former principal at Leesville, decided to close half of the bathrooms and put a teacher in front of the rest of the bathrooms that remained open. 

These actions sparked a wide debate about whether they would lead to the growth of the school or not.

Ms.Bullard, a science teacher, is one of the many teachers that has to take time out of their planning period, where they would usually get class ready, grade papers and tests. Instead, she has to stand outside of the bathrooms to make sure no one is vaping. “I think that it was a drastic measure [meaning the closing of the bathrooms] but unfortunately that measure fixed the problem, or at least has been successful in reducing the number of unnecessary fire alarms,” said Bullard.

Although the system of closing off bathrooms and having teachers standing in front of them does work it is unpopular. “I did not want the system to work because I don’t want to stand in front of the bathrooms,” said Bullard.

Ms. Bullard is not alone in her dislike of the bathroom policy. Will Porter, a junior at Leesville believes that the bathroom policy is. “Kind of annoying to deal with for the students, but I understand why it was done,” said Porter.

The main problem with the bathroom policy at Leesville is the fact that half of the bathrooms on each floor are closed, and all of the bathrooms in The Murphy Building basement are also closed. 

“We just can’t man all of the bathrooms. I already spend about fifteen minutes in front of the bathroom, and I don’t want to spend twice that,” said Bullard.

It is important to note that all of the unplanned fire alarms are caused by one main reason… vaping.

“I think we need some serious education on how bad vaping is for students,” said Bullard.

The reason vape was created was to transition smokers off smoking and slowly get them to quit altogether. Gen Z has seen more of a leap where instead of leaning off smoking, they just jump directly into vaping and become addicted to that.

The bathrooms all opening back up at Leesville seems like a dim light at the end of a very long tunnel. 

“But I feel like it is possible. I don’t think in the near future it will go back to normal, but maybe in a few years once this kind of group of students has left the school. I think for now the changes are here to stay,” said Porter.

Not only is this hard on the teachers having to spend part of their planning period watching the school bathrooms but closing as many bathrooms as Leesville did is also against the North Carolina Plumbing code according to David Taylor a Professional Engineer registered in N.C.

The bathroom situation is not good for anybody — the teachers have to take time out of their day to watch a bathroom, and the students lose half of the bathrooms because of the 10% that vape in the bathrooms. 

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