Bathroom Damages: A Costly Norm

Bathroom vandalism is an everyday occurrence, which causes both students and custodians a headache


Vandalism means bathrooms are regularly closed to students.


Paper towels everywhere.

Jammed down the toilets, scattered on the floor, and even down the hall. There’s barely any left in the dispenser. Gum clogs the sinks, just inches away from the trash can. You try to ignore it and head into a stall, but realize that the door won’t close. Not because it’s stuck, but because it has been ripped from the hinges.

Bathroom vandalism is nothing new, but it is a major problem at ELHS as it leads to wasted time for the custodians, and wasted resources for the school.

“Is it right that the school spends thousands of dollars fixing the bathrooms if somebody destroys them within a week?” head custodian Mike Hewitt said. Mr. Hewitt says he has loved all 15 years of his job at ELHS, and takes pride in maintaining the cleanliness of the school. However, he along with the other custodians, are fed up with the
issues some students cause, specifically in the bathrooms, which can lead to them not being able to carry out their normal duties.

“Some people like to cause discontent, and think that it’s okay to do these things, and that it’s funny. It’s not funny. It’s very disrespectful,” Mr. Hewitt said. While he and his team are able to clean up the messes quickly and efficiently, getting enough money to deal with bigger damages is a big problem. One example of this is in the case
of the stall doors.

“I have brand new doors, but I won’t install them. I need a guarantee somebody’s got money to replace those a week later,” Mr. Hewitt said. Guarantees like that are hard to come by, as the school district is over $500,000 in spending.

Catching the vandalizers, however, is a tricky problem, as they can pop into the bathroom at any time and pop out just as quickly.

“If you don’t address it with the individuals who vandalize, they don’t tend to change their ways,” Mr. Hewitt said. There are even some students who have expressed their concerns over the bathrooms.

“It’s difficult to get to class on time when there’s a big yellow bar in the way of the door,” sophomore Kai Jolly-Ballantine said. However, there are solutions to help clean up the school. Upperclassmen may remember last year’s bathroom sign-out system, and Mr. Hewitt envisions a return to something similar to monitor bathroom conditions.