Bathroom passes create controversy

Sarah Park, asst. news editor

This school year, South established bathroom passes to ensure the safety and location of students while going to the bathroom, Principal Dr. Barbara Georges said. 

Bathroom passes were implemented to make student bathroom trips less distracting for teachers during class time, Ronald Bean, Dean of Students and Assistant Principal, said. These passes are not new to South, Bean added, explaining that before the pandemic, students were required to have passes when outside the classroom. 

“Our [handbook] says students in the hallways need passes to let people know where they’re going,” Bean said. “During the pandemic, [rules were] pulled back, but we felt it was time to swing back to [the rules] prior to the pandemic.”

In response to negative student reactions, Bean encourages students to voice their opinions.

“If students have concerns about the cleanliness or [the bathroom passes] being inconvenient, [they can] see me to come up with a way to address [the problem],” Bean said.

Sophomore Matthew Clough believes that bathroom passes spread germs through the school. 

“[I think] bathroom passes expose [students] to germs because they are taken in and out of the bathroom many times per day without washes [in between],” Clough said. 

Responding to questions about pass cleanliness, Georges explained that the Building and Grounds Department at South clean the bathroom passes nightly by wiping them down with disinfectant. 

Furthermore, Project Lead the Way students are planning to make the bathroom passes more hygienic. Seniors Peter Krosniak and Luka Piekarski will use a hands-on approach by swab testing germs on the bathroom passes, Michael Sinde, Career and Technical Education Teacher, said. 

An idea from Piekarski suggests a system of online IDs. He describes the system as an easy way to let students go out in the hallways. 

“We can go to an online ID system,” Piekarski said. “Teachers can authorize a student to be out [in the hallway], so when the hall monitors see [the student] they can scan [their ID] and know they’re authorized to be in the hallway.”

Additionally, Sinde explained how his students could build a UV light device to clean the bathroom passes.   

“In a lot of science classes in the engineering space, there is a safety glass cabinet that uses UV light to sanitize the glasses,” Sinde said. “[For bathroom passes, we might build] a similar device that has a UV light on it that can kill the germs in between uses of the passes.”

In addition to questioning the cleanliness of bathroom passes, sophomore Lizzy Thomas expressed frustration with missing passes in her classrooms. 

“A lot of people are stealing [bathroom passes], which limits when people can go to the bathroom,” Thomas said. “When classes have only one or no [passes], the people who really need to go to the bathroom can’t go.” 

Bean plans to print new bathroom passes on teachers’ requests. He also added that missing passes can easily be replaced because they are printed at South. 

Bathroom passes present positive impacts as it would limit students interrupting class to ask permission to go to the bathroom, Sinde said.

“As a teacher, it’s been nice to have [bathroom passes] because I don’t have to be interrupted in class. In years past they would interrupt me in the middle of class to raise their hand [ask to go to the bathroom],” Sinde said.