Thursday, October 27, 2011

When You Gotta Go, I Hope You're Not at Science Skills High School

One of my own biggest pet peeves as a high school student (back in the Dark Ages) was the disgusting state of my school's bathroom. Smoking was more popular when I was in school, so the bathrooms were usually smoky, as well as filthy and smelly. At one point in my school career, I had gone two entire years without using the bathrooms at my school. That's how bad they were.

Having popped into the bathrooms at TMS2 once or twice in need of paper towels or to investigate some yelping, I can say with confidence that the bathrooms here are a significant improvement over what I had, not that it takes much. Still, I can't say I was shocked to hear about the state of affairs at Science Skills High School, where 634 students were limited to one bathroom.

Surely this violates some kind of health and safety standard? Or if it doesn't, isn't it just an insult to human dignity? God knows I spend far too much of my career policing kids' bathroom usage, but still, there has to be a better solution than limiting 600+ students to one filthy bathroom. Those are the kind of conditions that would cause prison riots. Guantanamo Bay has a better sanitation situation.

As you may know if you're a regular NYC Educator reader, the school bathroom is a minor obsession of mine. And sure, it sounds funny to joke about. And I roll my eyes a little when the Freire disciples rant about the inhumanity of public schools. But I start to wonder if maybe they don't have a point when I hear stories like this. Where are we as a school system if we can't even figure out how to keep bathrooms clean and safe?
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