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One Bathroom’s Enough For 634 Students, Says Brooklyn School

One Bathroom’s Enough For 634 Students, Says Brooklyn School

A high school in downtown Brooklyn only let its 634 students use one bathroom while keeping four other fully functional bathrooms locked. Administrators made students wait in lines at least a dozen students long at one bathroom in the nurse’s office in order to, they say, prevent students from misbehaving and getting into trouble in the bathrooms. A second bathroom had been open at the beginning of the instructional year, but administrators put it under lock after the aide who supervised it quit.

It was only after the New York Daily News contacted the school, Science Skills Center High Schools, that two more bathrooms were opened for students to use.

The high school’s principal, Judy Henry, said through a Department of Education spokesperson — Henry herself did not return “multiple calls for comment” — that students were allowed to use one bathroom for only one day. But “two dozen students and two school workers” countered this statement.

16-year-old Kianna Cole started a petition to get Science Skills High School Center to open up more than one bathroom. She collected around 200 signatures; the school opened the additional restrooms before she was able to deliver the petition.

Making sufficient, and sanitary, bathrooms available for students is simply fundamental for any school. Cole describes the inhumane conditions in the one bathroom the Science Hills Center High School students were able to use:

“It was awful – and not just the smell or the line. It was the pee all over the place and the terrible plumbing.”

The administrators’ strategy for cutting down on disciplinary problems has only created more headaches, as well as exposing students and staff to unsanitary conditions. The school has to figure out ways to address the disciplinary issues while not penalizing all students many of whom, while there was only one bathroom open, were in danger of being late to class as they waited in line. At a time when many school districts are trying to cut down costs, it seems likely that we could hear more stories about schools shutting down even what you’d think are essential facilities, not to mention letting go of aides and staff.

Of course, there can’t have been only one bathroom open at Science Hills Center High School. The administrators had to answer the call of nature as much as the students and, based on the conditions of the one bathroom allotted to students, it’s likely the principal and others might have preferred to go elsewhere.

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93 comments

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2:40PM PST on Nov 16, 2011

terrible

3:03PM PST on Nov 12, 2011

Thank you for the article

2:21AM PST on Nov 11, 2011

I'm glad I went to online high school. Feel sorry for those kids. Hopefully things will change for them really soon!

3:43AM PST on Nov 10, 2011

Thanks for the article.

10:04PM PST on Nov 9, 2011

what about the risk of bladdar and urinary tract infections from having to "hold it" for so long? would it be so hard to have someone in each bathroom to monitor the kids if that is indeed one of the issues?

4:47PM PST on Nov 9, 2011

Absolutely ridiculous!

1:10PM PST on Nov 8, 2011

Wow. I can't even believe how ridiculous this situation is. I hope they don't have any kids there with Crohn's or other intestinal disorders. If I was a student or a parent there I would throw such a fit. Bastards.

12:58PM PST on Nov 8, 2011

The students should just start urinating in the halls, that would open those doors pretty quick.

1:44AM PST on Nov 8, 2011

I bet you this is a predominantly black school was my first thought as I read the headline. It's America innit? This backward country can't help it. But anyway, black or white, they should sack the principals, the head and any teachers who did not stand against it. Silencio et consentire' Silence gives consent.

4:13PM PST on Nov 7, 2011

this is ridiculous

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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