Paso Robles High School parents angry over locked bathrooms

November 7, 2019

By KAREN VELIE

Amid allegations of drug dealing, vaping and sex in bathrooms, Paso Robles High School administrators are locking the bulk of student restrooms for much of the school day, an action that has angered many students and parents.

On social media, several teachers blame bad parenting; parents point the finger at mismanagement; and students plead for the right to use a bathroom when needed. Meanwhile, aside from a 20-minute morning break and a 40-minute lunch break, only two sets of restroom, aside from those affiliated with departments such as physical education, are open most of the day.

“The whole ‘you should be going on your breaks’ is such a cop out,” said Madi Ramirez, a recent graduate of Paso Robles High School. “We had some class periods that were three hours long on block days! It’s not my fault if I went during class, I needed to go. I finally ended up walking across the school, and I don’t recall running into any form of adult supervision, to find a bathroom. Once I went all the way up to Taco Bell and then I got in trouble for being late.”

Students and parents complain of long lines, having to skip lunch to use the restroom, and of leaving campus to find a bathroom.

“Why are bathrooms not available for students to use?” said Tess Serna on Facebook. “That is the big question. If they are vandalized, then clearly there wasn’t enough supervision. Lemme guess, ‘They didn’t have enough staff.’ Well they were tripping over themselves at the district office, so don’t give me that BS.”

Spanish teacher Jen Fuller said when students enter the workforce, they “can’t just get up and use the restroom whenever they want.” Fuller also described some students as vandals whose parents failed to raise them correctly.

“Kids should be in class not goofing off in the bathroom,” Fuller wrote on Facebook. “Students trash the bathrooms. How is this on the school?? That should be something taught at home. Don’t smear your feces all over the wall. Pee in a toilet, not on a pile of paper towels you threw on the floor.”

Parents and school district employees also argue over the meaning of several California codes regarding public school restroom facility requirements.

On the California Department of Education website, under “K-12 toilet requirement summary,” it says one toilet per 30 girls, and one toilet per 50 boys and one urinal per 100 boys.

During non-breaks, the two largest restrooms are kept open, Principal Anthony Overton said. As for the plumbing code listed on the state website, Overton said those are the requirements to open a school, and that the school is not required to keep all bathrooms open during class time.

“By having a limited number of restrooms, we can monitor and make sure students are using them appropriately,” Overton said. “Student have complained about unsafe bathrooms; vaping. With the new policy, we have had no vandalism and no false fire alarms. If it backs up, we open more restrooms.”

Diane Waters, the California Department of Education’s senior architect, said schools can close bathrooms temporarily for repairs, but they should not be keeping the bathrooms closed on a regular basis.

“They need to find ways to supervise bathrooms,” Waters said.

Parents can seek state oversight through The Williams Complaint Process. Implemented legislation, the process provides parents a way to correct unsafe or unhealthy facility conditions.

First, parents need to send a letter detailing their complaints to the school principal, who is required to respond within 45 days. If dissatisfied, parents can send an appeal to the state through jmireles@cde.ca.gov within 15 days of receiving the principal’s response.

At George H. Flamson Middle School in Paso Robles, Principal Tim Vincent, new this year, responded to a question about possible bathroom closures by telling his staff they were required by code to keep them open.

“The upstairs bathrooms will be open,” Vincent said in an August 14 email. “If we closed them, we would be out of compliance with state law. Here’s the link to the required student-to-restroom ratio. In order to meet the ratio, we’ll make sure we have the required number of bathrooms open, unless there is a closure due to a maintenance issue.”


Loading...

36
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
nowayray

If the parents are so upset over this why not go to the school and volunteer as bathroom monitors? Children learn by example, the biggest example being the one at home. They aren’t getting all these behavior problems from peer pressure.


Jorge Estrada

There should be outdoor sink to wash hands and provide those porta-potties that read occupied or vacant on the door latch, (the best non-discrimination feature). That would be a good choice for all public facilities. Money could be save by just cutting the pumping in half, just like other deferred maintenance programs. For those who do not understand the accounting practices, they will be able to smell the budget.


Cmonnow

Oh the humanity… Maybe one, or some, of the “angry” parents can explain why this is such an issue…. I can see it now; “Parents seek state oversight in school bathroom closures” Stay tuned….


obispan

Did anyone miss this in the article? “Students have complained about unsafe bathrooms; vaping. With the new policy, we have had no vandalism and no false fire alarms. If it backs up, we open more restrooms.” Sounds like reasonable school administration to me, Maybe so long in Paso without this it comes as a shock.


giblets56

As an educator of 30+ years I have seen the decline in the behaviors and no-responsibility attitudes grow in our schools. Children are raising themselves on YouTube and Snapchat instead of having parents who teach respect and responsibility. Parents need to parent and get off their devices. It is not the school’s job to parent, it is to educate. Learning how to use a restroom responsibly is a skill taught at home in the toddler years. Parents need to step up and quit crying foul for their delinquencies. AKA Take Responsibility!!


oldtimer

Why do parents spend so little time with children? does inflation of all goods and reduced income due to corporate favoritism of our current administration have ANYTHING to do with this? Or how cities benefit sports stadiums over teacher salaries or education, or how public sector is deemed “socialist fascism” by psychopaths on TV. Amazon paid almost nothing in taxes as incentive this year, does this fact fact – or in? Typical Boomer ideology; whom went to university for pennies in the 50s 60s and 70s and saw Dr’s for free, you Booming Socialists. Then say the youth are lazy, working 60 hours a week for 7.50 an hour. 60 hour work week, inflated rent, how do you go to college?!?!?! Full time????? Rich kids only?


oldtimer

How about parents make a liveable wage so they can be, parents??????


Snoid

Im so tired of people whining about making a “living wage”. You know what..F’ing move to a cheaper place to live, get a better education, or just get up off your ass and work harder to move up in life. Never in history did one expected to work at McDonalds and get rich, but apparently these days they think their entitled to free everything.


Hurley

Typically school administration, let’s make all suffer for the deeds of a few. What are we teaching our children? That pettiness and spitefulness are how we change things? Sounds a lot like Washington. Our children deserve better. And let’s not forget that we are talking about children here, not fully formed adults that are always rational. I’m sure we can all remember stupid things we did in high school. What the school district and the teacher’s, especially Ms. Fuller, need to display is compassion, of which there is very little of in this community.