Keeping all the bathrooms safe

Post winter break, posters were placed around campus bathrooms


Nick Wood

STOP AND THINK: Before entering each bathroom on campus students will see these posters outlining appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. Administrators hope this will improve student safety and make bathrooms a place students don’t feel uncomfortable entering.

Carey Wooley, Print Editor-in-Chief

A theme that has stayed prevalent for Bowie’s administration team is adaptation. After four years of having to adjust to unseen circumstances and new challenges, principal Mark Robinson and the assistant principal team are finding what policies and rules work best for the student body.

When student’s came back from winter break, the administration began to roll out new signs that would live outside of student bathrooms that have a QR code that students can scan if they feel unsafe in the bathrooms and want to alert an adult.

“It’s still rolling out because we really haven’t gotten all the signs put up that we wanted to. So, we’re still very much in the implementation phase of that,” Robinson said. “I know that we are still not where we want to be in terms of vandalism, vaping, and the kind of behavior that makes some students not want to use the restroom.” 

These posters have already begun popping up around campus, but there will be many more inside and outside of the bathrooms. Other posters reminding students of phone free learning and to always have IDs on, are also in classrooms all over campus.

“We don’t necessarily just want to put the posters in the restroom because we’re seeing things get destroyed in the restroom like sinks, soap dispensers, stalls, doors, all of it,” Robinson said. “We don’t want these to be destroyed either. So we are trying to remind students what the expectations are without just giving them more things to destroy.”

The posters also map out what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in the bathrooms. The poster has rules like only one person per stall, no loitering or vaping, and to only use the bathroom in the hallway your class is in. There is also a reminder that all bathroom entrances are monitored with video. 

“Over the past four years, I definitely feel like the underclassmen using the bathrooms for things like vaping or whatever has increased a lot more like when I first got here,” senior Sami Sagebiel said. “I feel like I didn’t see it as much as I do now and I don’t know how you would change it, but the culture around the bathrooms has definitely changed a lot.”

My biggest concern is students belonging because I feel like when students feel they belong, they treat the people and place better.

— Mark Robinson, Principal

One of the main concerns regarding the bathrooms is vandalism. While it was a bigger problem last year, soap and toilet paper dispensers continue to be broken and go missing in many bathrooms. Whole stalls have been broken and are unusable.

“I wish our overall environment was more pleasant,” sophomore Genevieve Theil said. “We still don’t have AC or heating in the academic hallways, and in the fine arts wing, where we do have heating, it comes along with a bad smell. I also wish they were better about stopping the fights and vandalism that happen in the bathroom.”

According to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), since the return of students to classrooms since the pandemic, schools across the country are seeing a decline in students mental health and increase in dangerous behaviors and vandalism. Administrators and counselors are hoping to continue supporting students and putting up friendly reminders around campus to improve these behaviors.

“I think staying home and always being online made people think, oh, my actions don’t matter and make them feel like they can do whatever they want,” Sagebiel said. “I feel like that has continued into the years past COVID.”

At the beginning of the year administrators rolled out several new protocols for students including ID badges, bathroom passes that have colors correlating to the hallway it is in, and who is allowed off campus for lunches. They hope these new posters on top of the already existing policies will improve how students feel on campus.

“I know not everybody’s wearing their IDs so I would definitely say that with regard to all those things, we still have ways to go,” Robinson said. “There are some organizational things that we still need to figure out because we have added the athletic building now. We are seeing an improvement but we still have room to grow.”

According to Robinson administrators are hoping to continue making campus a safer place for all Bowie students. He hopes to find more policies that work for the Bowie community and add more safety features to the actual building. New challenges will continue to arise, like the recent winter storm, but Bowie administrators are prepared to tackle them.

“My biggest concern is students belonging because I feel like when students feel they belong, they treat the people and place better,” Robinson said.