Life, liberty and the pursuit of a decent bathroom stall

Nathaniel Martin, Staff Writer

There are several places people do not want to be disturbed. The library, for instance. There is nothing worse than being deep in thought or working hard on homework and then having your friends jump out from behind a row of books and ask if you have a protractor.

During a conversation with a friend is another time you don’t want to be disturbed. If you’re at the lunch table having a meaningful discussion with your friend about whether or not pineapple should be allowed on pizza and someone comes along and interjects his opinion into your talk, it is understandable to be frustrated.

And, most importantly, the bathroom is a place you certainly do not want to be disturbed.

Nobody wants a stranger interrupting them while taking care of business. If Thomas Jefferson had known what a public restroom was, he would have included the right to privacy in the bathroom in the Declaration of Independence.

It might be the most inalienable of the inalienable rights.

“… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and privacy in Public Bathrooms,” wrote Thomas Jefferson.

It rolls right off the tongue.

So why then, am I unable to enjoy the bathroom at school? Is it because LFHS doesn’t supply the men’s bathrooms with Charmin Ultra Strong? That would be nice, but no it’s because more than half of the stalls in the men’s bathrooms are in someway broken or vandalized.

I went on an awful adventure, traveling from bathroom to bathroom noting with depressing frequency how sad the state of some stalls are. I saw broken or missing latches. I saw misaligned stalls. I even saw one stall missing a wall). Altogether I counted 30 stalls in the school. Of those 15 were in some way broken.

15 out of 30. That’s 50 percent.

I understand students might get used to the broken bathrooms because we have to deal with it everyday, but what about visitors? What about the proud parent at the sporting event or show who finds himself having to go only to have a sweaty athlete barge in on them on the pot? Or worse what if this person is a college scout or ambassador?

That’s a school embarrassment.

So why are the bathroom stalls all maimed? Allow me to tell of my experiences. I needed to wash my hands the other day, and I entered the men’s restroom on the second floor near the science wing. Much to my astonishment and displeasure, I saw three hooligans wailing on the door to a stall!

It was the very students that use the bathrooms that were destroying them!

I wanted to strike these troublemakers down in righteous fury, but unfortunately assault is against the LFHS Code of Conduct, and I had to return to class.

Now the question becomes, “How can we fix this mess?”

I’m not sure how this problem can be fixed. Repairing the stalls would be wonderful for a short time, but what’s to stop nincompoops from wrecking them again? It’s difficult to enforce justice in restrooms short of installing bathroom attendants, and nobody wants that.

Here’s an idea. Let’s repair one bathroom completely that is used frequently by students – not the restroom right across from the administration – and see how long it takes for the stalls to be broken. If it takes many years for things to deteriorate, then the school should invest in repairing all the stalls. If it takes 24 minutes, the school should let the students suffer but fix the restrooms used by visitors.

Walking into a bathroom stall that doesn’t have a lock is inviting embarrassment on par to Steve Harvey screwing up the Miss Universe Competition.

Things need to change.