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.”


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aye-caramba

Simply closing the toilets does nothing to address the vandalism AND punishes the majority of kids who just want to use it as intended. Just poor problem solving IMO. Supervision, prompt attention to damage and really going after the vandals (no matter the ethnicity). But this takes effort, which I suspect the “adults” don’t want to expend. This is simply retribution against the students. How embarassing for the administrators. Shame


charger805

“Spanish teacher Jen Fuller said when students enter the workforce, they “can’t just get up and use the restroom whenever they want.”


Wait. What? I have never once in over 40 years of working, ever had to ask to go to the bathroom at work.


aye-caramba

yes that was weird, even in communist countries, peeing is a basic human right…


RalphKane

…unless you’re a Uighur in a Chicom re-education camp.


obispan

Do you vape in the bathroom, piss on paper towels, smear feces on the walls, or do you just flush the toilet, wash your hands and promptly go back to work? Not a valid comparison.


ActaNonVerba

“…If they [bathrooms] are vandalized, then clearly there wasn’t enough supervision…” <— Sounds like a product of poor parenting to me.


I don't know the logistics involved, but closing many of the bathrooms might indeed be a smart move. I have to wonder if a lot of the whining isn't about students needing to use the facilities, but some kids angry at having to work harder to feed their nicotine or other drug addictions?


sbjcl

Sounds like like all the administrators should be required to do 1 hour of Potty duty a day as part of their job description instead of blaming bad parenting.


brettmx

I’d fire the principal just for this comment alone. “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.” Shows what a dipshit he is.


Noodly Appendages

The parents of the vandal students are all too busy tagging up turf to trip on kids (homey)


pasoparent5

Thank you Karen Velie for reporting on this situation. What you’ve written is not exaggerated. PRHS is a large campus and there are simply not enough bathrooms open for students. An increase in supervision is what’s needed, not the closing of restrooms.


Hopefully PRHS Principal Overton and the other administrators will venture out of their offices and onto the campus. Let them hang out for a while near the restrooms during nutrition break and lunch time to deter the students who want to use bathrooms for something other than relieving themselves.


obispan

Maybe the parents will venture out of their Section 8 apartments, get involved in their communities, and volunteer to monitor the bathrooms and provide the guidance their children do not get at home. I pay taxes to EDUCATE children, no more. I went to the bathroom at schools, whenever I wanted, for 13 years, never an issue. In one class the teacher’s hall pass was a toilet seat in lieu of the traditional “blue slip”, a receipt book-like piece of paper that gave you permission to be out of the room during classes to discourage misuse. I think I may have heard a story about firecrackers in the bathroom once, but that’s it.


Mitch C

When I was in High School just the hint that my parents would be notified of a disciplinary problem would be an end of life experience. I concur with the teachers – what are the parents thinking? Respect, and self discipline have become a thing of the past. Parents WAKE UP!


obispan

These parents will not acknowledge any problem at home. Every allegation is falsified and the fault lies in not providing unlimited social services for the children while the parents live on AFDC, Section 8, EPC cards, and smoke meth, and still have to depend on schools for basic child nutrition as they will not use the proscribed benefits to provide for their children. Beats working, I guess. Not for me, but then I’m a Trump racist.


tess_ramirez

Wow, I appreciate the comments, but I am the first one to admit teenagers can be assholes. My daughter isn’t perfect, but she doesn’t deserve to have to walk around for 30 mins to try find a place to use the bathroom. When you’re lactose intolerant and having a reaction to some covert dairy product in your lunch around 1:30 in the afternoon, it’s absolute torture. Or are you able to schedule your shits? That teacher’s claims of “feces” on the walls is entirely unsupported. And even if it were, it underscores the fact that they should be supervising students and not depriving them of the basic human right to a toilet. How has every other high school in the area able to manage it? It scares me that people this stupid are supposed to be teaching our kids. Gas stations can even figure this shit out. Give them a key to check out.


Slosum

Welcome to California’s public school system.


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