Teacher Coverage of Bathrooms

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A teacher guards one of the main floor bathrooms. Since late last school year, select bathrooms on campus were closed down to reduce the number of areas that need surveillance. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Pharr)

Starting last school year, many non-planned fire alarms have interrupted classes at Leesville Road High School, with the main cause being student vaping.

The original response plan set in place by Ian Solomon Leesville’s former principal, worked to dissuade students from vaping for a brief period. Recently, this issue has resurfaced.

The set plan for preventing vaping was to have teachers stand a ten minute shift outside of the bathrooms during their planning period, however, the current plan has room for error.

During first period on the days of September 13, September 14, and September 15, all main building bathrooms were surveyed every ten minutes for teacher coverage. Observance of the bathrooms should be constant, so teachers should be seen monitoring the bathroom 72 times. However that was not the case.

Out of the 72 observations of the bathrooms, there were only 39 instances of a teacher guarding the bathrooms, coming out to around a 54% attendance rate. Data was collected by tracking each of the main room bathrooms every ten minutes, checking off whether teachers are at their station.  The data highlights a clear flaw in the current approach, potentially leaving room for students to vape.

The problem, however, is not the teachers. Current policy mandates that teachers take time from their planning period (generally used as their time to grade assignments and plan for their next classes) to stand outside of a bathroom that may be a long way from their classrooms. 

Recently, Mrs. Jacobs,  Leesville’s current principal, announced over the intercom that new punishments will be put in place if students are caught vaping, such as monetary fines and even removal from school.

Although Mrs. Jacobs is taking worthwhile steps to prevent vaping, the conflict between a need for security and a need for learning shows that an alteration to policy is evidently needed. Students and teachers cannot afford to have their learning environment and material schedules being intruded upon by constant, long interruptions.

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