Student behavior leaves bathrooms in ruins


Madison Brownewell, Staff Reporter

Day after day, another bathroom is shut down when a student floods the toilets or rips a soap dispenser off the wall, all acts of vandalism that occupy a lot of the custodians’ time.  Perhaps the Devious Lick Challenge started this destruction, but it has continued into the school year and administrators and custodians are frustrated. Punishments for these acts could be more severe in the future if it continues. 

All students have noticed by now the gates which lock the restrooms.  According to Jason Shover, principal of Big Spring High School, this is at a monetary cost to the district.

Shover said, “[The money] is coming from the district.  That’s just less money that I can go and advocate for if I’d like to have this event or I’d like to help out the student council.  It’s just money that we have in a pot that was divided in a certain direction is now divided toward bathroom and facility clean up.”

Not only is it costing the administrators headaches, but even more so, the custodians.  Shover said,  “When we’re talking about several soap dispensers or paper toilet dispensers or paper towels getting destroyed in a day, and even more than that in a week, that money adds up pretty quickly.” 

Head custodian, Doug Lautsbaugh, added, “It’s costing me thousands of dollars in labor.  You talk about a soap dispenser, well you’re not talking about the time it takes me to put it up.  The time it takes the custodian to clean up what was on the floor, the soap that they destroyed, and everything that goes along with it, you’re talking about Tapcons at $2 a piece to attach them to the wall.”  Tapcons are the screws holding the soap dispensers together and keeping them on the walls.

Lautsbaugh also said, “The trickle-down effect adds up very quickly when it comes to cost.  We’re fortunate enough that our soap dispensers are given to us because we buy their product.  However, once we exceed a certain amount, we get charged.  We’re into the charged part.”

Pressure to reduce these incidents increased soon after a student allegedly peed in a soap dispenser i

n the second-floor boy’s bathroom.  Science teacher, Travis Barnes, responded to the incident after a fourth-period student reported it.

“The most disturbing [bathroom incident] would be that somebody stated that someone had ripped the soap dispenser off the wall and urinated into it,”  Barnes said.

Lautsbaugh discussed the incident as well. “I would say because of the biohazard side of it, the urinating in the soap dispensers [is the worst bathroom incident this year].  If somebody had a virus, that could make a lot of people ill.

It could be continually happening and we don’t know it.   I’m not saying you shouldn’t wash your hands while in the restroom, but they could easily be doing that without him [Shover] and I knowing it, and just sit back and chuckle every time somebody washes their hands.”

The question of why students are continually destroying the bathroom and peeing in soap dispensers remains a mystery.  Only theories interpret the possible reasons for the destructive behavior.

“It comes back down to respect for other people too, thinking about Mr. Lautsbaugh.  He has many more things to be doing in the course of the day than walking around and reinstalling soap dispensers or mirrors that are being ripped off the wall.”  Shover said.

“I think they’re just being rude and inconsiderate,”  Barnes said.