Westhill High Students Complain About Locking Bathrooms Between Blocks

By: Djemima Duvernat

A cup of coffee sounds good in the morning, right? Now imagine going around the school to find a bathroom as that cup of coffee is finally catching up to you. No one wants to walk across the buildings just to find an open bathroom. 

“The bathrooms are closed in the morning because each security guard needs to get to their respective floors and then they will open the bathroom,” stated Mr. Gordon Perdue (security guard). Then why are they closed between lunch waves? Students complain about walking multiple hallways to find an open bathroom. “The bathroom is closed between lunch waves because students are supposed to be at lunch and therefore there should be no one in the hallways. There are bathrooms around the cafeteria,” Mr. Gordon Perdue added. This seems simple, then why are students not happy about the closed bathroom if it is that simple? 

“I need to walk multiple hallways to find an open bathroom and when I do they are so crowded that I can’t really use the bathroom,” said Elizabeth Mendez (‘25). 

 On Friday, February third, Principal Rinaldi spoke briefly in an interview about the bathroom being closed for security reasons. Over the past few months, students have been complaining about the bathroom being closed too often. The main issue for that matter is “vaping”. According to Principal Rinaldi, the bathroom is closed in the morning to prevent students from getting high in the bathroom. 

“You might find an open bathroom but it is crowded with people smoking so you can’t really use it,” said Kimberly Hernandez (‘25).

The only problem is, “security might be absent so it takes longer to open all the bathrooms in the morning,”  as stated by Principal Rinaldi.  The reason why the bathrooms are closed either between waves or in the morning is that students are harming themselves by smoking in the bathroom. Students get high in the bathroom and, “have been sent to the hospital sometimes, you guys don’t see that because we would close up the hallways to get a kid to the ambulance. As a Principal, the scariest thing for me is when students are doing things that could harm themselves and others. If closing the bathroom between waves and in the morning can help contain some of the consequences of vaping then, yes, I will do it,” Principal Rinaldi affirmed. 

Vaping is not only affecting the user but also everyone else that is exposed to it. “I almost got in trouble once because one of the security guards thought I was smoking too, I wasn’t,” said Fatima Hernandez (‘25). Some are really uncomfortable with vaping and others are worried about the harm it is bringing upon students. 

The good news is we might have vape detectors coming up. They are like smoke detectors but they have cameras that will capture the moment as it happens. That is why they will be displayed in the middle of the bathroom and not in the stall, near the urinal, or anywhere inappropriate. If the school is able to get them, then maybe administrators might not need to close the bathrooms so often. 

Rinaldi stated, “as your principal, I want you to stay safe and enjoy your experience at school. I want students to know I am accessible and that they can come to see me.” 

Seems like we got an answer to our questions. As soon as the vaping problem can be contained, the bathroom will be open more frequently, and you won’t have to worry about how much coffee you get in the morning. 

To summarize, the bathrooms are closed in the morning to prevent students from vaping inside before classes. They are open as sound as the hallways clear after the first bell. They are close in between waves because students are supposed to be in lunch and bathrooms are available around the cafeteria. Vaping is an issue for closed bathrooms.